Genealogy Websites Scare Me, But This is Good

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Investigators in Sacramento have arrested Joseph James DeAngelo for rape, but they only found him based on records from a genealogical website.

The effort wasn’t easy, but this guy is now off the streets. The process started with taking a look at DNA that was collected from the crime scene, which happened many years ago. Investigators didn’t have a match. However, recently, they started comparing DNA with genetic profiles that have been collected from ancestry sties. These are companies that collect DNA from people to tell them more about their family backgrounds.

Though DeAngelo’s DNA was not found, investigators were able to match the DNA of his family members with the DNA found at the crime scene. Investigators looked closer and noticed that DeAngelo not only lived in the area where the rape occurred, but also was in the same age range as the suspect. The investigators began watching DeAngelo and picked up a piece of trash that he discarded. They tested it in the lab, and the DNA on it was a perfect match to the DNA at the crime scene.

Once investigators realized they had a match, they knew that they had to spring into action. They were able to quickly make an arrest. DeAngelo was booked into jail and charged with two murders. He is also expected to face an additional 12 homicide charges, which occurred from 1974 to 1986. Because the crimes occurred in several counties, it is likely that county prosecutors will come together as one prosecution team to put DeAngelo on trial. It is also likely that the trial would not be held in Sacramento because the majority of the crimes occurred in Southern California. There is also the question as to if the prosecution team will charge DeAngelo with rape, as the statute of limitations has expired. There is no statute of limitations for murder in the state of California.

Some prosecutors, however, are looking to the FBI to help put DeAngelo behind bars for the alleged rapes, too, including Jeff Reisig from Yolo Country, and the DA from Contra Costa County. They believe that DeAngelo is the so-called East Area Rapist, who has been connected to 12 murders, 51 rapes, and hundreds of burglaries.

There are certainly some issues with these DNA tests, but that can be for another time. For now, it’s pretty important to know that there is some good that can come out of it, especially if it means getting criminals off the street.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Debbie Reynolds 11/26/2018 05:00 AM
ActiveRain Community
dna technology

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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Robert. I almost bought an Ancestry DNA test yesterday but they don't send you anything: you have to go online and that's not for me.

Nov 23, 2018 06:22 AM #1
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I agree these web sites scare me . It might make it easier for identity theft. However I am glad there is some good associated with these sites

Nov 23, 2018 12:14 PM #2
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Robert- If this stops one person from being raped or murdered then that's a good thing!!!  

Nov 23, 2018 05:54 PM #3
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I never thought about being afraid of those websites. But then, I guess I've never thought much about them at all.

My Mom was into outlining family history, but she was doing it through lots of letters to various relatives. I still have all of her research and maybe someday I'll have the time and inclination to carry on with what she started.

DNA is certainly fascinating. They're solving a lot of old crimes that could not have been solved twenty or thirty years ago.

Nov 23, 2018 09:45 PM #4
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

I'm glad these criminals are being found and families are getting closure. Justice being served is the the most important part of the process.

Nov 24, 2018 07:41 AM #5
Susan McCall, Independent Listing and Buyer Agent
Compass Realty Solutions - Portland, OR
Bringing buyers and sellers together!

DNA sites are basically invasive to our personal information.  Is it true that if you have nothing to hide what are you afraid of?  Depends.......

Nov 24, 2018 01:05 PM #6
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


                           Thank you, Robert. 

Nov 24, 2018 04:36 PM #7
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I have not used one but understand that they are being used to track criminals.

Nov 24, 2018 06:24 PM #8
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good  morning Robert Siciliano,

I'm so glad Kathy Streib included your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week. It's important to know that there is some good that can come out of collecting DNA, especially if it means getting criminals off the street.

Nov 25, 2018 08:11 AM #9
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

It's going to take a warrant to get my DNA.  Well unless they dig something out of a public trash can.

Nov 25, 2018 02:42 PM #10
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Interesting story Robert Siciliano. I've not had mine 'tested' and have no interest in doing so, but I am always amazed by stories like this one.

Thank you for sharing!


Nov 25, 2018 08:22 PM #11
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Social media hads all kinds of applications !

Nov 26, 2018 08:40 PM #12
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

My husband found his birth mother last month because he did the DNA test from It was never his intent...he just wanted to have some info on his heritage since he was adopted and his birth parents had never given him any info. It was amazing how fast he found his birth family.

Nov 28, 2018 11:20 AM #13
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Modern technology is so key in cases like this. I'm sure the victims' families are thankful for that! 

Nov 30, 2018 10:19 AM #14
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