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SAN FRANCISCO — Barbara Rae-Venter is pioneering a new, high-stakes application of genomics — one that could put killers behind bars. Half a lifetime ago, she was married to the man who went on to become perhaps the best-known pioneer of the field.

The retired patent attorney and genetic genealogist offered California investigators crucial guidance that helped crack the Golden State Killer case, according to the San Jose Mercury News.


Investigators traced the alleged identity of one of California’s most notorious serial killers by using DNA from one of the crime scenes and uploading the genetic data to one of the consumer websites used to find long-lost family members. That led them to the former police officer Joseph DeAngelo, who has been charged for a series of murders and rapes all over California in the 1970s and ’80s.

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