Detectives hunting for the Golden State Killer got their man after climbing up and down dozens of online family trees in search of somebody who fit his profile and could be a DNA match, authorities told NBC News on Thursday.
Sacramento investigators narrowed down their search to a 72-year-old former police officer named Joseph James DeAngelo after looking at the profiles that people exploring their family backgrounds posted on various websites that specialize in those kinds of searches, they said.
DeAngelo was arrested this week on eight counts of murder. Authorities believe that overall, he's responsible for more than a dozen murders, at least 45 rapes and more than 100 burglaries in California between 1974 and 1986.
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Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi shed new light Thursday on how DeAngelo was captured, confirming a report in the Sacramento Bee.
DNA from crime scenes was used to create a genetic profile, which was then matched with profiles available online from a commercial genealogy company.