Just three weeks ago, law enforcement in California announced the arrest of the Golden State Killer using DNA. The press conference was vague, but the details of the novel method soon trickled out: Joseph James DeAngelo was found by matching DNA from a crime scene with that of his distant relative on the genealogy site GEDmatch.
On Friday, police in Washington State announced the arrest of William Earl Talbott II for a double murder in 1987, and this time, they proudly announced the use of the same method of tracing distant relatives through DNA—a field known as genetic genealogy. Steven Armentrout, the president of Parabon NanoLabs, the forensics company that did the DNA analysis, spoke at the press conference. So did CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist who now works with the company.
Parabon has jumped headlong into this technology. On May 8, it announced the creation of a new genetic-genealogy unit led by Moore. The company recently told BuzzFeed it had uploaded DNA from about 100 crime scenes to GEDmatch.com, with about 20 of them generating matches of a third cousin or closer. “I think there is going to be press around this very soon,” the company’s director of bioinformatics had said to BuzzFeed.