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Will DNA Submitted to Genealogy Sites Also Finally Catch the Zodiac Killer?

17 Apr 2024 7:38 AM | Anonymous

A scant hope of catching the Zodiac Killer perhaps lies on the back of a postage stamp, licked by the murderer 50 years ago.

The arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo, the man law enforcement believes is the East Area Rapist, has sparked myriad questions about the use of genealogy websites to revive long-cold cases. After DeAngelo’s capture, investigators revealed they submitted the East Area Rapist’s DNA to an open-source genealogy website called GEDmatch, where it found a match with a relative who also used the service. Detectives were then able to narrow their list of suspects, eventually arresting DeAngelo on suspicion of a string of rapes and murders across the state during the 1970s and 1980s.

Armed with millions of DNA profiles, uploaded online by curious family-history seekers across the world, could investigators finally decipher the Zodiac’s identity?

Like most things about the Bay Area’s most infamous serial killer, the answer is murky.

Unlike the East Area Rapist, Zodiac didn’t leave his blood or semen at the crime scenes. The 1968 murders of David Faraday and Betty Lou Jensen on Lake Herman Road and the 1969 attack on Michael Mageau and Darlene Ferrin at Blue Rock Springs Park were committed with a gun, as was the murder of San Francisco cab driver Paul Stine. The remaining attack, on Cecelia Shepard and Bryan Hartnell at Lake Berryessa, was done with a knife.

There is no confirmed DNA evidence from Zodiac at any of the scenes.

The closest police have to Zodiac’s DNA are the stamps he used to post his cryptic letters. In the early 2000s, San Francisco investigators developed a partial profile by testing saliva traces retrieved from beneath a stamp. Because the profile is incomplete, it cannot rule anyone in. 

But it did rule out long-time suspect Arthur Leigh Allen in 2002.

You can read more in an article in the AOL News web site at:

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