SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTVU) - The former police officer accused of being the Golden State Killer made his first court appearance in Sacramento Friday afternoon.
Media from throughout the state and country were in Sacramento for the court appearance of Joseph James DeAngelo, who police say is the notorious Golden State Killer/East Area Rapist. He appeared in court in a wheelchair looking disheveled and wearing an orange, jail-issued jumpsuit.
The court hearing was continued, with DeAngelo's next court appearance scheduled for May 14.
DeAngelo eluded capture for 40 years until this week when he was located in a quiet Sacramento neighborhood in Citrus Heights. He was living in the well-kept home with his daughter and granddaughter.
DeAngelo is suspected of committing 13 homicides and at least 45 rapes across California.
We now know that DNA collected from one of the crime scenes was compared to online genetic profiles on sites people submit their DNA to in hopes of learning more about their family tree.
Investigators turned to a free genealogy website called GEDmatch.com.
The open source site pools genetic profiles that people share publicly. The company confirmed its involvement, but noted that it was not approached by law enforcement. It also said users should understand their DNA could be used to identify relatives who have committed crimes or were victims of crimes.
In this case, someone's DNA closely matched the DNA of their suspect
Detectives built a family tree and narrowed it down until they zeroed in on the 72-year-old former police officer.
Police have been searching the Citrus Heights home outside Sacramento where DeAngelo had been living for decades.
DeAngelo's brother-in-law says the family is trying to reserve judgment until the trial.