May 11, 2018
Los Angeles, California
Enterprise-Journal headline announcing the Sacramento, California arrest of ex-cop Joseph DeAngelo Jr. for eight serial murders that occurred in the 1970s and 80s.
After more than four decades of eluding police, DeAngelo was identified and arrested after police were able to trace DNA to some of his relatives, which then led to the former cop.
The DNA links were not done using the FBI’s CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) database.
Rather, LE utilized civilian DNA databank open to the public known as GEDmatch.
Here is an excerpt from a 4/27/18 article from the online magazine, arsTECHNICA describing the DNA “hit” and arrest of ex-cop, Joseph James DeAngelo:
According to the East Bay Times, which first reported the connection to GEDmatch late Thursday evening, California investigators caught a huge break in the case when they matched DNA from some of the original crime scenes with genetic data that had already been uploaded to GEDmatch. This familial link eventually led authorities to Joseph James DeAngelo, the man authorities have named the chief suspect in the case. To confirm the genetic match, Citrus Heights police physically surveilled him and captured DNA off of something that he had discarded.
The former police officer was arrested Tuesday at his home in suburban Sacramento, having eluded law enforcement for decades. DeAngelo is expected to be arraigned Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court.
The Yolo County District Attorney said Thursday that DeAngelo “is suspected of committing over 50 rapes and a dozen murders across 10 different Northern, Central, and Southern California counties between 1976 and 1986.
Can Familial Genetic DNA Lead to the Identification of Zodiac?
The below article in the Huffington Post indicates that Bay Area detectives are going to attempt to springboard off the success of the capture of DeAngelo and at least one San Francisco Bay Area Department (Vallejo P.D.) is attempting to retest and obtain confirmed Zodiac DNA, with the hopes of then searching civilian genetic databases.
Here is an excerpt from a May 7, 2018 article in the Huffington Post, “Police Hope To Use DNA To Catch The Zodiac Killer, by David Lohr.
“We could finally have answers to one of the greatest whodunits of all time,” a criminologist said.
Now, with advancements in DNA testing and a multitude of databases available, police might have a chance of determining the identity of Zodiac. While it’s unlikely he’s still alive, a positive identification would allow authorities to close the book on an infamous serial killer who once terrorized citizens of California.
“And regardless of the outcome, in this case, these new avenues of investigation have great potential,” Bonn said. “Think of how useful these ancestry DNA databases could be in solving other unsolved cases.”
For the past nine years, I have been calling for LE to attempt to obtain “confirmed DNA” and have written extensively in Most Evil, BDA II, and Most Evil II on their need to “pool their evidence.”
My fear is that the separate agencies desire to independently “crack the case” may prevent them from joining forces to enhance the chances of obtaining Zodiac DNA.
By example, I would bet you even money that the legitimate Zodiac envelope mailed to KHJ TV Studios and booked in evidence by the Los Angeles Police Department on 5/4/78 is long forgotten and has never been tested. (Note to LAPD Cold Case detectives- Want to solve the Zodiac serial crimes? TEST IT.)
This letter contains a stamp and the inside of the envelope flap that could well contain Zodiac’s DNA and could be the very evidence, currently in police custody that when analyzed could yield the suspect’s DNA.
Photo of 1978 Untested Zodiac Letter and Stamp currently booked in Evidence at LAPD Property
Ms. Pam Hofsass and Stine Gloves Stranger DNA
Pam Hofsass, Director of Forensic Services Division, Contra Costa County
Finally, there is the STINE GLOVES, which I have always asserted was likely the “best evidence” potential for obtaining Zodiac DNA.
In 2009 after I met with two California DOJ agents and provided the details their follow-up to me was “apparently the gloves are lost but we will keep searching for them and would get back to me.”
Crickets for nine years.
Consequently, I assumed the Stine gloves were lost.
However, with the airing in 2017 of the History Channel’s “The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer” a surprise witness provided some startling and hitherto unknown information.
Ms. Pam Hofsass, currently Contra Costa County’s, Director of Forensic Services Division was interviewed on the show and revealed that she “had formerly worked for San Francisco Police Department and had been assigned to the Zodiac case from 1989-2015.”
Ms. Hofsass, speaking for the first time publicly about the Zodiac case informed the listening audience that “in 2002 saliva from a stamp was found on one of the Zodiac letters, but it showed weak and incomplete DNA.”
Ms. Hofsass went on to say that “in a subsequent attempt by me to obtain additional DNA I tested the size seven gloves found in the rear seat of the Stine cab.”
The results of her testing, “Paul Stine’s blood was found on the outside of the gloves, and there is an unknown male profile on the inside.”
This is truly encouraging information and dramatically advances the possibility that the size seven gloves were owned and worn by Zodiac and when he executed Paul Stine, likely from the rear seat of the cab, he was wearing the gloves (Stine’s blood on the outside) and left them in the cab upon fleeing.
(Lt) Size seven gloves from Stine taxi (Rt) George Hodel wearing similar probable size seven gloves circa 1996
Note to SFPD- Compare Stine “Stranger DNA” to other agencies analysis and to civilian DNA databanks such as GEDmatch and Ancestry.com