Stuart Leavenworth reports:
It’s a forensics technique that has helped crack several cold cases. Across the country, investigators are analyzing DNA and using basic genealogy to find relatives of potential suspects in the hope that these “familial searches” will lead them to the killer.
Familial searches led California authorities to arrest Joseph James DeAngelo in the Golden State Killer probe in April, and investigators have since used it to make breakthroughs in several other unsolved murder cases, including four in Washington state, Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina.
But as these searches proliferate, they are raising concerns about police engagement in “DNA dragnets” and “genetic stop and frisk” techniques. And as public DNA databases grow and are accessed by law enforcement, investigators may soon have the ability to track down nearly anyone, even people who never submitted their genetic material for analysis.
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