DNA Being Used in Growing Number of Cases

SACRAMENTO -- The Golden State Killer, the NorCal Rapist and now another man, Mark Manteuffel, are all behind bars thanks to genetic genealogy.

“These are horrific crimes that families have waited decades for (answers),” said Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert. “It’s changing the world. It’s probably the single greatest advancement since the time of fingerprints.”

In all these cases, investigators used DNA left at crime scenes to match it with someone in the suspect’s family tree. Those people voluntarily gave their DNA through an online database.

DA Schubert said we can expect more arrests using this new technology.

“So, we’re very clear about the types of cases that we're going to do it on. We're clear about the cases we won’t do it on. We’re focusing on violent crime,” she told FOX40.

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said his department is looking at all violent cold cases to see if genetic genealogy could provide answers.

“There are some cases where they haven’t been arrested,” Hahn said. “They haven’t had these major criminal histories. So, you need things like this to solve it.”

Genetic genealogy is so new that only one case has gone to trial. The suspect was convicted just last week in Washington State.

Still, Sacramento Criminal Defense Attorney Dan Olsen said there could be an argument that using DNA from online databases poses privacy concerns.

“I’m sure the family member that submitted their DNA was probably not looking to have it used in a police case,” Olsen told FOX40.

Since most of the sites require you sign a disclosure, however, he said it will likely hold up in court.

“Since DNA evidence, in general, is very powerful, I would expect that there will be convictions unless there’s some other problem.,” Olsen said.

“We don’t file a case unless we believe we can prosecute it and prove beyond a reasonable doubt,” Schubert said.

Manteuffel was in jail Tuesday night in Atlanta, Georgia, where he had retired. The case has already been filed in Yolo County.

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