Police can now track killers using relatives’ DNA – but should they?

Police can now track killers using relatives’ DNA – but should they?

Genetic genealogy services are rapidly becoming a key source of forensic evidence, but do we really want the police to have access to everyone’s DNA?

court room

Joseph DeAngelo is awaiting trial on murder charges

Paul Kitagaki Jr./Sacramento Bee/TNS via Getty Images

THE Golden State Killer terrorised California with a spree of murders, rapes and burglaries between 1974 and 1986. Then the killer went quiet, and the case went cold. But on 24 April 2018, the Sacramento Police Department arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, an ex-police officer, in connection with the killings. His DNA led them to him – and sparked a growing ethical debate.

The detectives identified DeAngelo after uploading DNA evidence from a 1980 Golden State Killer rape case to GEDmatch, a website …

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