Suspected 'Golden State Killer' Joseph James DeAngelo appears in court

Rhonda Wicht left and her son Donald were killed in Simi Valley Calif. in 1978

Investigators arrested DeAngelo on Tuesday after matching crime-scene DNA with genetic material stored in an online database by a distant relative.

Holes, a cold case expert and retired Contra Costa County District Attorney inspector, said GEDMatch was his team's biggest tool. According to the Mercury News in San Jose, California, GEDMatch.com was able to provide DeAngelo's information because it fit with the DNA profile. Major commercial DNA companies say they do not give law enforcement access their genetic data without a court order.

Investigators hunting down the so-called Golden State Killer used information from genetic websites previous year that led to the wrong man, court records obtained Friday by The Associated Press showed.

During the hunt for the killer, investigators a year ago used information from genetic websites that led to the wrong man, court records show.

His daughter said his family was not aware that authorities took a DNA sample from him while he was lying in bed at the rehabilitation center until she was contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in April 2017 and asked to help expand the family's genetic tree in the search for suspects.

Officials did not need a court order to access GEDmatch's large database of genetic blueprints, Holes said.

Police in Simi Valley, California are hopeful that the arrest of a suspect in the so-called Golden State Killer case will help authorities solve the murder of a mother and her young son almost 40 years ago.

Also known as the "East Area Rapist", the attacker killed 13 people and raped almost 50 women.

A year earlier, Holes had identified a rare genetic marker in the assailant's DNA.

After leaving the service, DeAngelo worked as a police officer for the cities of Exeter and Auburn, California.

Investigators searched DeAngelo's home on Thursday, looking for class rings, earrings, dishes and other items that were taken from crime scenes as well as weapons.

In fact, officers assigned to a special task force were required to submit saliva samples to exclude anyone who shared a genetic trait, Phillips said.

Ward said it's possible that DeAngelo helped with the search for Snelling's killer and the elusive burglar but he doesn't recall DeAngelo directly investigating the killing. "I think DNA is wonderful and if you've done something wrong you don't deserve to be protected". "I don't understand that".

Reports from the time show DeAngelo was sacked from the nearby Auburn Police Department in 1979 after being arrested for stealing a can of dog repellent and a hammer from a drug store.

Huddle said it was "still just going insane in my mind".

Balsamo reported from Los Angeles.

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