Investigators trying to hunt down the so-called Golden State Killer used information from genetic websites a year ago and misidentified an elderly Oregon man as a possible suspect.
Court records obtained by The Associated Press show that in March 2017 investigators in Clackamas County, Oregon, convinced a judge to order the 73-year-old man to provide a DNA sample.
The documents said they used a genetic profile based off DNA from crime scenes linked to the serial killer and compared it to information from genealogical websites. They created a family tree and used public records to identify the Oregon man.
Investigators also cited a rare genetic marker, which the Oregon man shared with the killer, to get the judge to issue the order.
Earlier this week, police say they arrested the right man for a dozen killings and 50 rapes from 1976 to 1986. He is Joseph DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former police officer who lived in the Sacramento area.
DeAngelo, a former police officer, was arraigned Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court on two counts of murder.
He was handcuffed in a wheelchair and five police officers surrounded him as he listened to the judge with his eyes barely open.
A court official read the details of the charges that DeAngelo is facing and a judge asked if he had a lawyer.
In a frail voice, DeAngelo responded, "I have a lawyer." An attorney from the public defender's office was with him in court.
DeAngelo was denied bail.
Investigators said they matched crime-scene DNA with genetic material stored online by a distant relative of DeAngelo. From there, they narrowed the search down to the Sacramento-area grandfather using DNA obtained from an item he discarded, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said.
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