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The Latest: Investigator: Free DNA website helped crack case

John Lopes, a crime scene investigator for the Sacramento Sheriff's office, carries boxes of evidence taken from the home of murder suspect Joseph DeA...
T. Abbott, left, and John Lopes, right, from the Sacramento County Sheriff's crime scene investigation office, conference about boxes of evidence gath...
John Lopes, a crime scene investigator for the Sacramento Sheriff's office picks up bags of evidence taken from the home of murder suspect Joseph DeAn...
This undated law enforcement photo provided by the Sacramento County, Calif., Sheriff's Office shows Joseph James DeAngelo. DeAngelo, a suspected Cali...
A car is backed out of the garage of a home searched in connection with the arrest of a man on suspicion of murder, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Citr...
This undated photo released by the FBI shows artist renderings of a serial killer and rapist, also known as the "East Area Rapist" and "Golden State K...
This undated photo released by the FBI shows part of East Area Rapist Crime reports at the Sheriff's department evidence room in Sacramento, Calif. Vo...
This undated photo released by the FBI shows a sketch and details of a stolen ring the attacker who became known as the East Area Rapist took from one...
Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones discusses the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo for a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's, at a news...
CORRECTS NAME TO SACRAMENTO SHERIFF SCOTT JONES-In this undated photo released by the FBI shows East Area Rapist Ski Masks in Sacramento, Calif. A Cal...
This undated photo released by the FBI shows a home invasion ransacking by an attacker who became known as the "East Area Rapist" at an unknown locati...
John Lopes, a crime scene investigator for the Sacramento County Sheriff's office, carries boxes of evidence taken from the home of murder suspect Jos...
Sacramento Sheriff's deputies carry evidence taken from the home of suspect Joseph DeAngelo to a sheriff's vehicle Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Citrus...
In this March 1, 2018, photo, rape survivor Jane Carson-Sandler, of Sun City Hilton Head, S.C. poses for a photo holding a copy of her book about the ...

John Lopes, a crime scene investigator for the Sacramento Sheriff's office, carries boxes of evidence taken from the home of murder suspect Joseph DeA...

T. Abbott, left, and John Lopes, right, from the Sacramento County Sheriff's crime scene investigation office, conference about boxes of evidence gath...

John Lopes, a crime scene investigator for the Sacramento Sheriff's office picks up bags of evidence taken from the home of murder suspect Joseph DeAn...

This undated law enforcement photo provided by the Sacramento County, Calif., Sheriff's Office shows Joseph James DeAngelo. DeAngelo, a suspected Cali...

A car is backed out of the garage of a home searched in connection with the arrest of a man on suspicion of murder, Wednesday, April 25, 2018, in Citr...

This undated photo released by the FBI shows artist renderings of a serial killer and rapist, also known as the "East Area Rapist" and "Golden State K...

This undated photo released by the FBI shows part of East Area Rapist Crime reports at the Sheriff's department evidence room in Sacramento, Calif. Vo...

This undated photo released by the FBI shows a sketch and details of a stolen ring the attacker who became known as the East Area Rapist took from one...

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones discusses the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo for a string of violent crimes in the 1970's and 1980's, at a news...

CORRECTS NAME TO SACRAMENTO SHERIFF SCOTT JONES-In this undated photo released by the FBI shows East Area Rapist Ski Masks in Sacramento, Calif. A Cal...

This undated photo released by the FBI shows a home invasion ransacking by an attacker who became known as the "East Area Rapist" at an unknown locati...

John Lopes, a crime scene investigator for the Sacramento County Sheriff's office, carries boxes of evidence taken from the home of murder suspect Jos...

Sacramento Sheriff's deputies carry evidence taken from the home of suspect Joseph DeAngelo to a sheriff's vehicle Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Citrus...

In this March 1, 2018, photo, rape survivor Jane Carson-Sandler, of Sun City Hilton Head, S.C. poses for a photo holding a copy of her book about the ...

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a decades-old serial killing and rape case in California (all times local):

7:30 a.m.

One of the main investigators who helped capture a California serial rapist and killer who eluded law enforcement for four decades says his team used a public DNA matching website.

Lead investigator Paul Holes tells the Mercury News in San Jose, California, that one of his team's biggest tools was GEDMatch, a Florida-based website that pools DNA profiles that people upload and share publicly.

GEDMatch is a free site where users who have DNA profiles from commercial companies such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe can expand their search for relatives.

Major companies, such as 23andMe and Ancestry, do not allow law enforcement to access their genetic data unless they get a court order.

Holes says officials did not need a court order to access GEDMatch's large database of genetic blueprints.

___

12:00 a.m.

Privacy concerns are being raised over investigators' use of a genealogical website to find the California man they say is a serial killer and rapist.

Joseph DeAngelo was arrested Tuesday after investigators say they matched crime-scene DNA using genetic material stored by a distant relative on a website.

Authorities say it's an innovative technique that broke open the long-cold case of the Golden State Killer, who slew at least a dozen people and raped 50 women from 1976 to 1986.

But Steve Mercer of the Maryland public defender's office says it pinpoints a problem: There aren't strong privacy laws to keep police from trolling such databases.

Mercer says right now, people who submit DNA to be tested to find their ancestors can unwittingly become "genetic informants" on family members.


Updated : 2021-01-28 05:21 GMT+08:00