The DNA technology used to identify Joseph James DeAngelo as the Golden State Killer might be used to solve Australian cases, with NSW Police and the Federal Police considering bringing the tech to Australia.
In a Facebook post published by the NSW Police Force on Monday, the cops confirmed it is assessing whether Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) is an investigative tool, after a group of specialists completed studies in FGG in the United States.
If brought in as part of investigations in Australia, it would give police the ability to identify suspects and missing people, when there’s no current DNA matches on criminal databases. As we saw with the Golden State Killer case, the genealogy tech can be used as a far-reaching tool, identifying people through their relatives’ DNA.
“It would allow investigators to identify familial matches up to third and fourth cousins,” the statement read.
“Current familial searching on the National Criminal Investigation DNA Database (NICDD) can only identify close family matches.”
The AFP’s Coordinator of Research and Innovation, Dr Nathan Scudder, said the tool is the one of the latest new and innovative techniques authorities have been evaluating to help solve cases.
“Serious and violent offenders shouldn’t think that because they have never given a DNA sample it means they got away with their crimes,” he said.
“A family connection may lead police straight to their door.”
If the AFP adopts the technology as a means to identify suspects, Australia will join a list of countries to use the genealogy approach to help solve old and new cases that lack DNA matches.
“The global use of this investigatory tool is increasing and is being adopted by several countries as its potential to solve violent crimes and bring justice to victims is realised,” said Associate Professor Claire Glynn, who directed the course at the University of New Haven in Connecticut.
“Collaboration is key to bringing the use of FGG to its full potential on a global scale.”
Since the technology was first used to pin the Golden State Killer in Sacramento back in 2018, it’s believed the FGG tool has helped resolve around 200 further cold cases in the US, ranging from homicides to sexual assault investigations.