Category Archives: Familial

Ancestry customer says he is glad his DNA on GEDmatch led to unknown cousin’s arrest for murder

ORLANDO, Fla. – When John Hogan was researching his family tree, he never imagined that paying for a DNA kit from Ancestry could one day help detectives to solve a cold case. The murder suspect turned out to be a second cousin he had never even met.

I gave my DNA away. Can I get it back?

A growing number of people are willingly handing over their DNA to corporations in return for learning about their ancestry or to get health reports.
Why are we prepared to make this trade with our most intimate of data and what are we getting in return?
And what happens if you want your data back?

Lawyers In A Murder Trial Clash Over A DNA Forensics Methods

ON A LARGE screen inside a packed Snohomish County courtroom, in Washington state, a young Canadian couple smiled out at the dimmed room from the relaxed, faded scene of a party. It was the last known picture taken of Tanya Van Cuylenberg and Jay Cook together before they disappeared in November 1987. Their bodies were discovered days after they went missing, more than 60 miles apart.

Golden State Killer breakthrough garners global acclaim as ‘DNA Hit of the Year’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When DNA made the break in the 45-year-old Golden State Killer case, it set off a national phenomenon to identify suspects in some of the country’s worst unsolved crimes. Now, the case is getting global recognition for the breakthrough and influence it had in the forensic field.

The First Murder Case To Use Family Tree Forensics Goes To Trial

To crack a 32-year-old murder case, police used genetic genealogy, which involves searching family tree sites and the DNA that people add to them. Now its legality is getting scrutiny in the courtroom.

How Much Does DNA Change Our Life Story?

Until 2016, when my father’s doctor told us he was dying of pancreatic cancer. With the internet’s capacity for ancestral research and the boom in DNA testing, my sisters and I decided it was time to give my father the gift of genomic closure.

DNA Detectives: Scientists combining forensics with genealogy break ‘unsolvable’ cases

(InvestigateTV) – Thanks to a breakthrough in how DNA is used, more than 1,000 collective years worth of cold cases across the U.S. have been solved in just the last nine months.
Police are teaming up with genealogists to track killers through their blood lines.

Sooner or Later Your Cousin’s DNA Is Going to Solve a Murder

In the year since the arrest of the man believed to be the notorious Golden State Killer, the world of criminal investigation has been radically transformed.
Using an unconventional technique that relies on DNA submitted to online genealogy sites, investigators have solved dozens of violent crimes, in many cases decades after they hit dead ends. Experts believe the technique could be used to revive investigations into a vast number of cases that have gone cold across the country, including at least 100,000 unsolved major violent crimes and 40,000 unidentified bodies.

Two murders stumped police for 40 years. The key was sitting in a bathroom cabinet.

Using updated DNA techniques, including genealogical research, investigators have tied Martinez to the two crimes. But as the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported on Wednesday, solving the decades-old killings also hinged on something so common that it’s found in nearly every household — a cluttered bathroom medicine cabinet.

An unsolved homicide haunted a city for decades. Officials say the killer was there all along.

On a cold, snowy night 45 years ago in Billings, Mont., someone entered the home of Clifford and Linda Bernhardt and brutally killed them.
The 24-year-olds had saved for years to build a home and finally settled down on the quaintly named Dorothy Lane in the fall of 1973. It turned out their time there would be brief and would end in unspeakable tragedy.

The Technology 202: Consumers advocates want Washington to tackle ‘Wild West’ of DNA test kits

A consumer advocacy group leader says it’s time for Washington lawmakers to set some rules in the “Wild West” of at-home DNA testing kits.
Following a report that Family Tree DNA gave the FBI access to its vast genetic database, Sally Greenberg, the executive director of the National Consumers League, says Congress must make sure people are aware of the broad privacy implications of using these common services. Most people who buy DNA kits think they’re learning about their ancestors or relatives, Greenberg says, and they don’t know that companies often have sweeping terms of service agreements that allow them to share customer genetic data with law enforcement or other companies.

Police revived a 1973 murder case by live-tweeting a girl’s last day. Now, a DNA match has led to an arrest.

On the day Linda Ann O’Keefe died, it was a cooler-than-normal July morning in Newport Beach, Calif. The brown-haired, blue-eyed 11-year-old got a ride to summer school — about half a mile away — but had to walk home in the afternoon.
It was July 6, 1973, a Friday. When O’Keefe didn’t return home right away, there was little concern at first. But when night fell and her whereabouts were still unknown, her parents called police and desperately combed the neighborhood, to no avail.

Bill seeks to prohibit using DNA databases to solve crime

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — After police used a new technique to arrest a man suspected of being the Golden State Killer, a Maryland legislator proposed a law that would prohibit use of a familial DNA database for the purpose of crime-solving.
House bill 30, sponsored by Delegate Charles Sydnor, D-Baltimore County, seeks to prohibit searches of consumer genealogical databases for the purpose of identifying an offender in connection with a crime through their biological relative’s DNA samples.

New Investigative Approach Helps Solve Minnesota Cold Cases Through DNA ‘Family Tree’

The Minnesota BCA, in unsolved cold cases, is using a relatively new DNA technology to help them track down elusive criminals in the state’s felony DNA database.
BCA Superintendent, Drew Evans, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the so-called “Familial DNA” technology has only been used in four cases so far in Minnesota because it is used as a last resort in unsolved cases.

Golden State Killer caught using relative’s DNA from genealogy websites, prosecutors say

…The district attorney’s office “explored online family trees that appeared to have matches to DNA samples from the East Area Rapist’s crimes,” The Sacramento Bee reported. “They then followed clues to individuals in family trees to determine whether they were potential suspects.”…