My speculation that the path to the killer might have come through one of the conventional
DNA analysis providers [FTDNA, Ancestry, 23and Me, etc.] was incorrect. Additional
information has now come out to the effect that the track the police used was a separate
website, GedMatch, that offers the service of pooling reports from the basic providers and
attempting to locate matches. Although I joined GedMatch some time back (so some of my
data is there), I don’t really use it for much. GedMatch’s attraction for the
investigators was that it’s apparently an open-source volunteer service without much in
the way of privacy protections.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Jack Fallin <jakff(a)astound.net>
Subject: Digest, Vol 14, Issue 119; DNA and the Golden State Killer
Date: April 27, 2018 at 7:18:43 PM PDT
We can expect to see a lot of this sort of publicity. I would imagine that they searched
for Y-DNA matches (perhaps by just signing on using the crime Y-DNA as that of a
customer). With matches in hand they likely split it geographically and looked hard at
families in roughly the right locations. Still, it was a shot in the dark because,
compared with the overall population, very few people have actually tested.
What the quoted story doesn’t include, as some do, is that they then captured some actual
DNA from the suspect and that’s what is going to convict him. The DNA used by the FBI and
others is a different test from any offered by the commercial companies. It’s essentially
an STR test that tests fast changing locations on autosomal chromosomes. Because the
locations change quickly they are poor candidates for the kind of long-range connections
genealogists are looking for - but they are precisely what is needed to pinpoint a single
The quote from a “public defender” (i.e. a defense attorney paid by the state) that
“[p]eople who submit DNA for ancestors testing are unwittingly becoming genetic informants
on their innocent family,” is just silly - it’s the positive identification through fast
changing STR sites that will convict a person, not the slow system genealogists use.
Finding criminals like this one benefits all of us, and those who contributed deserve
credit for ‘unwittingly’ helping to capture a monster.
Walnut Creek, CA
> On Apr 27, 2018, at 5:02 PM, fermanagh-gold-request(a)rootsweb.com
> Today's Topics:
> 4. Genealogical Websites, DNA & the Golden State Killer (DSA2003)
> Date: Sat, 28 Apr 2018 08:01:56 +0800
> From: DSA2003 <dsa2003(a)iinet.net.au <mailto:email@example.com>>
> Subject: FERMANAGH-GOLD -Genealogical Websites, DNA & the Golden State
> To: Fermanagh Gold <fermanagh-gold(a)rootsweb.com
> Message-ID: <5B5405DB9F944887A51FE4CCF35DB377@DavidHP>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> G’day everyone
> Over recent years, there’s been a lot of talk about DNA on FG, so I thought that
members may be interested in this story about the recent arrest of the “Golden State
Killer” in San Francisco.
> David Armstrong
> Western Australia
> This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
> End of FERMANAGH-GOLD Digest, Vol 14, Issue 119