New York Times Bestselling Author Steve Hodel

Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo Identified Through GEDmatch Public DNA Database- Can Familial DNA Identify Zodiac?

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:

SACRAMENTO, CA – APRIL 25: Sacramento sheriff Scott Jones speaks about the arrest of accused rapist and killer Joseph James DeAngelo during a news conference on April 25, 2018 in Sacramento, California. Sacramento district attorney Anne Marie Schubert was joined by law enforcement officials from across California to announce the arrest of 72 year-old Joseph James DeAngelo who is believed to be the the East Area Rapist, also known as the Golden State Killer, who killed at least 12, raped over 45 people and burglarized hundreds of homes throughout California in the 1970s and 1980s. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

 

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

 

 

9 Comments

  1. Luigi Warren on May 11, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    Steve: Size 7 (US) is a pretty small glove for an adult male, esp. a six-footer. Size 7 (EUR) would be slightly less unusual — about equivalent to a 7.5 (US), I believe. Also, if the gloves were purchased for a snug fit that helps a bit. How confident are you that those gloves would fit your father’s hands? -LW

  2. Steve Hodel on May 11, 2018 at 2:38 pm

    LW: I am fairly confident on the size 7 glove fitting dad. During my research, I attempted to get input on a size seven glove from local stores. No one could give me a real sense of it. I then called a glover in London and asked her what a size 7 men’s love would suggest? She said, “Well unusual, a size 7 glove would be for a man with long slender hands like a concert pianist.” Had to laugh to my self since dad was a “concert pianist” in his youth. He has always had very long slender fingers, so it fits. skh

    • Steve Hodel on May 11, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      P.S. To paraphrase OJ’s attorney, “If the glove ain’t too tight you must indict.”

      • Luigi Warren on May 11, 2018 at 8:40 pm

        Steve: I thought it was “if the gloves don’t fit you must acquit.” Any chance Ms. Hofsass could provide more detail on the gloves, about which very little has been revealed? They seem like a potentially important clue, even if the DNA turns out to be a blind alley. What is the brand, were they common, expensive or cheap, were they bought in the US or overseas (like the Riverside watch, purportedly)? As far as I can tell, mass-market gloves are sized based on the circumference of the hand in inches (or “French inches” in Europe) at the base of the fingers, so a mass market Size 7 would normally have correspondingly short fingers. You can buy bespoke gloves but that’s not common — it would be a real find if they were bespoke. Also, do the blood stains on the gloves clearly indicate they were worn by Zodiac? -LW

        • Steve Hodel on May 11, 2018 at 10:11 pm

          LW: No information has been provided or would be forthcoming from LE other than the property report from DOJ listing them as “men’s size 7”. No brand or other description available. Doubt GHH wore cheap gloves, (recall he was wearing Bally shoes, Breitling watch) not his style to buy on the cheap.
          All we know is the blood stains on the outside of the gloves belonged to Stine, as they should since he was executed with a headshot at close range. (Probably contact to the temple.)

          But, even a more complete description of them won’t give us an answer. It comes down to the DNA. skh

  3. Patricia O'Neill on May 12, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Steve, the Stine killing was in SF and as I recall when growing up in “the City”, leather gloves were worn by dapper men on dressy social occasions. Having worked in Roos Atkins as a college student, black leather gloves were always in the inventory and size 7 would nicely fit a man with slender fingers. The ideal was to have a tight fit. I always thought Johnny Cochran’s warning “if the glove doesn’t fit you must acquit” was a clever use of words on his part with absolutely no basis of truth! Once the glove was wet (in OJ’s case, soaked with blood) sizing & suppleness were gone. Somewhere along the CA coast one of the counties having an article containing the DNA in question is going to have the “chutzpah” to get the testing done and come out with the truth. Yes, that truth may reflect poorly on police/sheriff’s departments that ‘let it lay” for so long but it is high time we know the whole story as we now know with the Golden State Killer! Keep pushing, Steve! Pat O’Neill

    • Steve Hodel on May 12, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      Hi Patricia O: Yes, the whole OJ demonstration that “the gloves don’t fit” was a complete charade. As you say, gloves soaked in blood and dried in a police property room for months are going to shrink. In addition, as I recall they had OJ put on rubber gloves before trying on the gloves, which alone would mask the fit. Farcical, but good enough for a center ring circus. On the suspect Zodiac gloves, yes right in line with an older, dapper man along with the pleated pants, not exactly in fashion with a Sixties hipster. Best, skh

  4. Lynelle Lujan on July 1, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Ever since the GSK was caught I have often thought about this. Do you or family members currently have DNA on these sites in the hopes that future DNA investigative work by police agencies can either confirm or rule out your father in other crimes, For instance the zodiac?

    • Steve Hodel on July 1, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Lynelle L: LE knows I have my father’s DNA profile. When and if they ever get any confirmed Zodiac DNA all they have to do is pick up the phone and I will be happy to have them make the comparison through legitimate laboroatory.

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