Public DNA profiles are being used to lead police investigators to suspected murderers from “cold cases,” with at least four men arrested since April, according to a report.
The MIT Technology Review reported this week that at least four suspects have been arrested using evidence from genealogy, while another now-deceased suspect was singled out as the likely murderer in a case.
“Investigators are entering genetic evidence from old, unsolved rape-murders into a publicly accessible database of DNA profiles,” the MIT Technology Review explained. “Genealogists can then use genetic matches to distant family to locate the probable suspect. The sleuthing combines DNA, birth records, and social-media profiles.”
One of the men arrested is suspected to be the infamous Golden State Killer, who killed at least twelve people and raped over 50 in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Another man, Raymond Rowe, who was arrested for allegedly killing a school teacher 25 years ago, was found “after DNA from semen found on [the victim’s] body and at the scene was uploaded to a public genetic genealogy database — and matched one of Rowe’s relatives in Lancaster County.”
“GEDmatch is designed to show the amount of shared DNA between two people,” claimed Parabon NanoLabs CEO Steven Armentrout. “That allows a genetic genealogist… to make inferences, to find distant cousins, of the person that has the unknown DNA, to build out family trees, and ultimately come up with suggestions of who might be a suspect.”