Prolific Serial Killer Arrested, Family Voices Sympathy For Victim


California: More than three decades after his trail went cold, one of California’s most prolific and elusive serial killers was caught when investigators matched crime-scene DNA with genetic material stored by a relative on an online genealogical site, prosecutors said Thursday.

Authorities have said the DNA tied former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, to most of the 12 killings he is accused of committing between 1976 and 1986 as part of the Golden State Killer case.

Investigators also allege DeAngelo raped more than 50 women during that period. Authorities declined to name the DNA site used to track the DNA.

Companies such as and 23andMe charge customers to use their DNA to produce genetic profiles that determine ethnicity and can identify long-lost relatives, among other services. Both companies said Thursday they weren’t involved in the case against DeAngelo.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said investigators surreptitiously obtained his DNA last week from discarded material that ended up matching DNA at crime scenes.

In other developments Thursday, police in Visalia said DeAngelo is a suspect in the 1975 killing of community college teacher Claude Snelling in the farming community about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Fresno. If the link is confirmed, it would boost the number of victims to 13 in the serial killing case.