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Method used to solve this cold case after 35 years could ‘do away with serial killers’

Police were able to solve a 35-year-old cold case thanks to a piece of evidence already in their possession. In Fairfax County, Virginia, officials arrested a man wanted for rape after a piece of DNA evidence collected in 1987 matched a sample in the FBI’s database, WJLA reports. Police attribute the arrest to technological and genealogical advances. “I really think we can eliminate serial killers…serial rapists because we can identify them much more quickly,” said CeCe Moore, the lead genealogist for Parabon, a DNA lab that helped with the case. “These people who have managed to stay under the radar and not be a person of interest in these cases are identified that much more quickly.” Fairfax Police say this is what happened to William Clark, 59, who was able to get married, have a family and pursue a career before being arrested for allegedly assaulting a 14-year-old in that cold case. Police say he told the victim he was a popular radio host and promised her prizes to get her to the station. “Unfortunately, it worked, so we think there may be other victims out there who haven’t come forward,” Maj. Ed O’Carroll of the Fairfax County Police Department told WJLA. Moore was able to reconstruct Clark’s family tree after finding his distant relatives through DNA testing sites and using public records such as census documents, birth certificates, marriage certificates, social media and newspaper articles to fill in the blanks with only one who fits by all accounts,” said her. Police tracked down Clark and arrested him as he was on his way to work this week. Despite this breakthrough, police are still required to conduct investigations and DNA testing as usual. But Moore said this tool could be used for the future of cold cases “Well, anyone out there who has committed a crime like this, I think, should be concerned, because even if they haven’t been identified for years or decades, we’re going to join them,” she said.

Police were able to solve a 35-year-old cold case thanks to a piece of evidence already in their possession.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, officials arrested a man wanted for rape after a piece of DNA evidence collected in 1987 matched a sample in the FBI’s database, WJLA reports.

Police credit advances in technology and genealogy for the arrest.

“I really think we can eliminate serial killers … serial rapists because we can identify them much more quickly,” said CeCe Moore, the lead genealogist for Parabon, a DNA lab assisting the case. “Those individuals who have managed to stay under the radar and not be a person of interest in these cases are identified that much more quickly.”

Fairfax Police say this is what happened to William Clark, 59, who was able to marry, start a family and pursue a career before being arrested for allegedly assaulting a 14-year-old in this cold case.

Police say he told the victim he was a popular radio host and promised her prizes to get her to the station.

“Unfortunately, it worked, so we think there may be other victims out there who haven’t come forward,” Fairfax County Police Department Maj. Ed O’Carroll told WJLA.

Moore was able to reconstruct Clark’s family tree after locating his distant relatives through DNA testing sites and using public records such as census documents, birth certificates, marriage certificates, social media and newspaper articles to fill in the blanks.

“We found connections on both his mother’s side and his father’s side, and he was the only one who fit in every way,” she said.

Police tracked down and arrested Clark while he was on his way to work this week.

Despite this breakthrough, the police have to conduct investigations and DNA tests as usual.

But Moore said this tool could be critical to the future of cold cases.

“So anyone out there who has committed a crime like this I think should be concerned because even if they haven’t been identified for years or decades, we’re going to join them,” she said.

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