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The Daily Podcast Audio: The Hunt for the Golden State Killer

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Duration: 26:33
An investigator was on the verge of retirement, having never completed his decades-long mission to catch the Golden State Killer. Then he had an idea: Upload DNA evidence to a genealogy website. Join The Daily Podcast hosts & Paul Holes, who helped to crack the case.
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For over 40 years an obscene amount of grim attacks throughout California had gone unsolved...until April 24, 2018. Join the Daily Podcast hosts and Cold-Case Investigator Paul Holes, who cracked the Golden State Killer case as they discuss infamous criminal who managed to elude authorities for years.
Snippet Transcripts
in 1994 This newfangled DNA technology was coming into play and it was so much more powerful. Even though this was an early, early form of the technology, it was much better than what we were doing. So I thought, You know, I'm going to see if I can track down some evidence and see if I can use the DNA technology to try to solve this Siri's, since the statute of limitations had past. Usually what happens with law enforcement property rooms is there's a destruction process where they no longer have to hold on to the evidence because the case is done, it's adjudicated. So they go through a routine process of destroying evidence in order to make room. They can't just keep everything forever as a routine aspect. Fortunately, the original investigators and laboratory staff that were involved in this back in the 19 seventies recognized the seriousness of this offender and put nondestructive orders on all East area rapist evidence in the sheriff's property room. Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office is the only agency in Northern California that did that, so that was the only evidence eso I found three sexual assault kits also called rape kits from three of the attacks in Contra Costa County and was able to get DNA evidence from all three cases. At this point, I need to find some suspects to compare to this DNA profile. And that's when I turned to one of the original investigators and see if he had any prime suspects. And what did he tell you? He said, you know, so we didn't have any prime suspects. We always thought that this guy went down to Santa Barbara and, uh, possibly committed an attack down there. May have killed somebody down there. Well, now I kick into investigative mode. So I decided I'm gonna call up Santa Barbara and ask them. I spoke with a detective. They're saying no. You know, none of our cases are related. They don't sound similar at all, But you might want to call up Irvine PD. That detective said Yeah, you know, we've got two cases that we got the same DNA, you know, from the victims. Eso. He referred me to the Orange County Sheriff's Crime Lab to talk to the analysts there about the DNA that she had, but different labs were using different technologies it hadn't been standardized yet. We couldn't do a direct comparison. It took us four years to get the new technology in place. So I ended up assigning a DNA analyst to do the new DNA technology. He did, and a few hours later he walks into my office. Very monotone Way said. So we've matched your samples to some homicides down in Southern California. That seems like a very big deal. Oh, now that's huge. Eso they only knew him down south as theory Journal Nightstalker Mhm. This was a merger of this East Area rapist in Northern California and the original Nightstalker down in Southern California, and he became known as the Golden State Killer.
NYT Daily Test
06:46-13:25
active said Yeah. You know, we've got two cases that we've got the same DNA, you know, from the victims. Eso He referred me to the Orange County sheriff's crime Lab to talk to the analysts there about the DNA that she had, but different labs were using different technologies. It hadn't been standardized yet. We couldn't do a direct comparison. It took us four years to get the new technology in place. So I ended up assigning a DNA analyst to do the new DNA technology. He did, and a few hours later, he walks into my office. Very monotone way said So we've matched your samples to some homicides down in Southern California. That seems like a very big deal. Oh, now that's huge. Eso they only knew him down south as theory journal Nightstalker. This was a merger of this East area rapist in Northern California and the original Nightstalker down in Southern California, and he became known as the Golden State Killer. Okay, so you've made this huge discovery. What do you do next? How do you push this forward and try to solve the case? I'm now actively communicating with lead investigator from Orange County Sheriff's Office, Larry Pool. I am sending him everything I have access to the case files, the evidence, the photographs. And we also ensured that the DNA profile was put up in the FBI's DNA database. But the search didn't result in any identification. So it was obvious that the guy we were looking for just wasn't in the database. And this case essentially goes cold again. Kind of this sort of like a one step forward, two steps back thing where you you've had a big breakthrough. And yet it seems like the case hasn't really moved forward much at all. That's exactly it. You see, As you know, this case was moving through the decades. There would be flurries of activity, and then it would just die off and you push away. I pushed away from this case multiple times going. I think I'm done. I just can't do this to myself anymore. You were starting toe to give up whole when I would push away. Eventually, you know, you get that tug back to the case, and then I'm back full bar and I had established relationships with multiple victims and having seen in person the trauma that they still lived with. To this day, you know there is an obligation to continue. And that's what kind of spurred me into my last phase of this investigation in terms of sitting in my office in 2000 and 8, 2000 and nine. And I'm looking at the file drawer that contained all those original cases with the red e A r on them. And I think I've got to start looking at that case again. It's unsolved. Let's see what I can dio. And since that moment in time 10 years ago, I have been working this case 24 73 65. My office gets transformed into a war room on the case, and so I have maps of where the attacks occurred. Pin to my wall. I've got suspects, you know, their their photographs pinned to my wall. My computer screen is constantly on, you know, one of the case files that I'm trying to read, So somebody walking into the room would dio he's working the case again. Mm. We'll be right back. How does your home impact your health? Convert Jewel Reality Help Million suffering from loneliness. I'm science journalist. Korea's Powell and I'm culture credit Kristen Minds er we teamed up with Invesco, OKC and T brand to create innovation uncovered. The world is changing in real time, often in ways we can't predict on innovation uncovered. We share stories about the groundbreaking people and technologies that are reshaping our culture right now. Listen now, wherever you get your podcasts and best co distributors, Inc. Okay, so what's the next big thing that happens in the case? So that's when I decided I need to do something different to advance this Siri's and identify who this guy was. And what was it that you decided to do differently? I decided to pursue looking for relatives of the offender based on the offenders DNA. Eso How does that actually work this technology using relatives? Can you walk me through it? Initially, we have to be able to generate a DNA profile that is compatible with upload into just unopened source genealogical database. Once we got that and searched that database, we got a list of distant relatives, and when we reach a group of individuals that meet the criteria that we know about our offender, he was likely born between 1940 1960. We know he had a sacramental connection. Those individuals end up becoming somebody that we will look at. And as we develop profiles of those individuals, we start assessing which ones rise to the level of getting a DNA sample from to compare to the offender. So just to make sure I understand you already have a DNA profile of the suspect. You are familiar with the fact that there are now databases all over the place that allow people to put their own DNA profiles in to find relatives, long lost cousins, grandmothers, grandchildren. That's right. That's right. And you realize that if you combine these two, if you put the suspects DNA profile into one of those genealogy websites or services that up my pop relatives, which is the point of those sites, that's right. So So, essentially, you have to create a fake profile and attach this DNA information, create an undercover profile. Pardon me? Is there unethical kind of question around that undercover
NYT Daily Test
06:46-13:25
active said Yeah. You know, we've got two cases that we've got the same DNA, you know, from the victims. Eso He referred me to the Orange County sheriff's crime Lab to talk to the analysts there about the DNA that she had, but different labs were using different technologies. It hadn't been standardized yet. We couldn't do a direct comparison. It took us four years to get the new technology in place. So I ended up assigning a DNA analyst to do the new DNA technology. He did, and a few hours later, he walks into my office. Very monotone way said So we've matched your samples to some homicides down in Southern California. That seems like a very big deal. Oh, now that's huge. Eso they only knew him down south as theory journal Nightstalker. This was a merger of this East area rapist in Northern California and the original Nightstalker down in Southern California, and he became known as the Golden State Killer. Okay, so you've made this huge discovery. What do you do next? How do you push this forward and try to solve the case? I'm now actively communicating with lead investigator from Orange County Sheriff's Office, Larry Pool. I am sending him everything I have access to the case files, the evidence, the photographs. And we also ensured that the DNA profile was put up in the FBI's DNA database. But the search didn't result in any identification. So it was obvious that the guy we were looking for just wasn't in the database. And this case essentially goes cold again. Kind of this sort of like a one step forward, two steps back thing where you you've had a big breakthrough. And yet it seems like the case hasn't really moved forward much at all. That's exactly it. You see, As you know, this case was moving through the decades. There would be flurries of activity, and then it would just die off and you push away. I pushed away from this case multiple times going. I think I'm done. I just can't do this to myself anymore. You were starting toe to give up whole when I would push away. Eventually, you know, you get that tug back to the case, and then I'm back full bar and I had established relationships with multiple victims and having seen in person the trauma that they still lived with. To this day, you know there is an obligation to continue. And that's what kind of spurred me into my last phase of this investigation in terms of sitting in my office in 2000 and 8, 2000 and nine. And I'm looking at the file drawer that contained all those original cases with the red e A r on them. And I think I've got to start looking at that case again. It's unsolved. Let's see what I can dio. And since that moment in time 10 years ago, I have been working this case 24 73 65. My office gets transformed into a war room on the case, and so I have maps of where the attacks occurred. Pin to my wall. I've got suspects, you know, their their photographs pinned to my wall. My computer screen is constantly on, you know, one of the case files that I'm trying to read, So somebody walking into the room would dio he's working the case again. Mm. We'll be right back. How does your home impact your health? Convert Jewel Reality Help Million suffering from loneliness. I'm science journalist. Korea's Powell and I'm culture credit Kristen Minds er we teamed up with Invesco, OKC and T brand to create innovation uncovered. The world is changing in real time, often in ways we can't predict on innovation uncovered. We share stories about the groundbreaking people and technologies that are reshaping our culture right now. Listen now, wherever you get your podcasts and best co distributors, Inc. Okay, so what's the next big thing that happens in the case? So that's when I decided I need to do something different to advance this Siri's and identify who this guy was. And what was it that you decided to do differently? I decided to pursue looking for relatives of the offender based on the offenders DNA. Eso How does that actually work this technology using relatives? Can you walk me through it? Initially, we have to be able to generate a DNA profile that is compatible with upload into just unopened source genealogical database. Once we got that and searched that database, we got a list of distant relatives, and when we reach a group of individuals that meet the criteria that we know about our offender, he was likely born between 1940 1960. We know he had a sacramental connection. Those individuals end up becoming somebody that we will look at. And as we develop profiles of those individuals, we start assessing which ones rise to the level of getting a DNA sample from to compare to the offender. So just to make sure I understand you already have a DNA profile of the suspect. You are familiar with the fact that there are now databases all over the place that allow people to put their own DNA profiles in to find relatives, long lost cousins, grandmothers, grandchildren. That's right. That's right. And you realize that if you combine these two, if you put the suspects DNA profile into one of those genealogy websites or services that up my pop relatives, which is the point of those sites, that's right. So So, essentially, you have to create a fake profile and attach this DNA information, create an undercover profile. Pardon me? Is there unethical kind of question around that undercover
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