DNA Website's Privacy Policy Change Spells End to Cold Case Arrests

“There are cases that won’t get solved or will take longer to solve,” a Florida law enforcement official said

In April 2018, California authorities revealed that they’d used a novel investigative technique to arrest a man they called the Golden State Killer, a serial murderer who’d escaped capture for decades.

For the first time, police had submitted DNA from a crime scene into a consumer DNA database, where information about distant relatives helped them identify a suspect, NBC News reported.

The announcement kindled a revolution in forensics that has since helped solve more than 50 rapes and homicides in 29 states.

But earlier this year, GEDmatch, that online database changed its privacy policy to restrict law enforcement searches, and since then, these cold cases have become much harder to crack. The change is allowing some criminals who could be identified and caught to remain undetected and unpunished, authorities say.

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