"Familial DNA" Searching May be Key in Finding Serial Killer

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Wed, Nov 26, 2008 at 2:38 PM

The Los Angeles Times reported about how a Denver district attorney pushed California Attorney General Jerry Brown into using "familial DNA" searching to try and catch three Denver rapists whose DNA profiles belonged to felons in Oregon, Arizona and California.

According to the Times, Brown initially refused to help catch the rapists but Denver district attorney Mitchell Morrissey was undaunted. He told the Times, "I explained to him clearly that was not something we were going to give up on. If the assailant raped another woman or hurt a child, I was coming straight back to California and I wasn't going to be patient."

Later, Brown changed his mind after he received backing from California district attorneys and Los Angeles police and sheriff's unions. He also has plans to run for governor in two years.

Now, Brown is conducting a "familial DNA" search looking for a relative of the Grim Sleeper, a serial killer believed to be responsible for at least 11 murders in South Los Angeles over a 23-year span. The victims were killed almost exclusively along a section of Western Avenue.

The LA Weekly broke the news about the killer, dubbed the Grim Sleeper by the Weekly because he took a 13-year break before bizarrely resuming his slayings, and Brown's decision in August.

The killers DNA does not match any of the millions of genetic profiles of convicted criminals in law enforcement databases, and detectives have precious few clues.

According to the Times, state officials put the odds of finding the Grim Sleeper through a relative at about one in 10.

Earlier this month, Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks and the LAPD unveiled a billboard, at the intersection of 98th Street and Western Avenue, that advertises a $500,000 award offered by the City Council for information leading to the capture of the Grim Sleeper.

In addition, the Grim Sleeper was profiled on America's Most Wanted. The program, which aired on November 1, featured "Jackie," the Grim Sleeper's only known living victim. She recalled the killer as a "young, good-looking black man" who was driving an Orange Pinto.

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