Last year, a 40 year crime mystery was solved, thanks to DNA testing. Back in the 70s, a criminal known as the East Area Rapist terrorized women and confounded police.
I can remember talking with my business partner of some 20 years, who came to this country from Finland when she was 18. Went from Finland to Redondo Beach in So Cal (talk about a change!) initially.
She was immensely proud of her late father, who was one of the ski troopers who frustrated Stalin’s army back in 1940.
Anyway when the East Area Rapist was active, I can remember her telling me that she would sleep with a butcher knife under her bed. I am sure that she was by far not the only woman taking defensive measures. Women all over town were terrorized.
Based on my
arguments interactions with her over the years, I have little doubt that had the rapist broken into her home she would have made quick work of him and the mystery would have been solved years ago.
Anyway back in April after 40 years, the rapist was caught. Since I am sure that the statute of limitations for rape would have made prosecution impossible after 40 years, they got him on murder, which in California has no statute of limitations. His arrest solved a lot of crimes up and down the state.
I do remember reading that when he broke into a house at night, he would tie the husband, put some plates from the kitchen on him, and tell him that if he heard the plates he would kill his wife.
When I say that he was caught on DNA evidence, it wasn’t in the manner you would suspect – off a criminal database.
He was caught from one of the companies offering to show one their ethnic background.
Both DeAngelo and the blonde man born in 1958 were on the same family tree as someone who loaded a DNA profile onto the open-source genealogy website GEDmatch. Police started to investigate them and three other white men of a certain age related to the GEDmatch user, who was at best a third cousin of the suspected East Area Rapist.
If you have committed a serious crime better hope that you have no family members with their DNA in a commercial database.
What prompted me to post this was the news of 2 sisters who submitted their DNA to a commercial site, with the result of a long-buried family secret exposed.
Sonny and Brina Hurwitz raised a family in Boston. They both died with secrets.
In 2016, their oldest daughter, Julie Lawson, took a home DNA test. Later, she persuaded her sister, Fredda Hurwitz, to take one too.
In May, the sisters sat down at the dinner table in Ms. Hurwitz’s Falls Church, Va., home to share their results. A man’s name popped up as a close genetic match for Ms. Hurwitz. Neither had ever heard of him.
Ms. Lawson searched for the man on Facebook . When she saw his photos, she knew. He looked like their late father. Based on his age and the close physical resemblance, Ms. Lawson immediately told her sister, “He’s got to be our brother.” This was their father’s secret. He had a child they never knew about.
Then came a second shock. Ms. Lawson’s test showed she didn’t appear to have any genetic connection to this new man. This was their mother’s secret: Ms. Lawson was the product of a brief extramarital affair. The man who raised her wasn’t her biological father.
The revelations ricocheted through the family. They created new bonds with people who were once strangers. They caused tension with family they had known all their lives. And they sparked a fight between the sisters about the bonds of loyalty—and how much their parents should have told them.
Ms. Lawson, 65 years old, said she is still grappling with “the pain of knowing my life was a lie and having all these questions that can’t be fully answered because both my parents are gone.”
“We held each other,” Ms. Lawson said, “and we sobbed.”
Was this knowledge that should have been disseminated?
I’ve got no problem with the former example. Don’t know about the latter.