He was one of two men whose DNA piqued the interest of investigators but were later ruled out as suspects.
Officials have not revealed what type of DNA sample they obtained from De Angelo or how they got it — only that it matches the genetic evidence left behind after at least three rapes in Northern California and three killings in Orange County.
A similar strategy is now being mirrored by other agencies, including the Vallejo Police Department, which is reportedly comparing DNA from the Zodiac Killer case to public databases in hopes of finding data on a relative that can point them to the perpetrator.
They suspected he could be the killer or the killer’s relative.
Early last year, a judge in Clackamas County gave authorities permission to obtain his DNA — by force if necessary.
But the document mostly leaned on websites that allow genealogy enthusiasts to upload the results of DNA tests and compare their findings in a search for distant relatives.
Their confidence hinged on a rare trait in the killer’s DNA that matched records uploaded to Ysearch.org, an amateur genealogy service with 189,016 genetic profiles, according to the warrant.They watched him discard his DNA in a public place, allowing them to obtain a sample.DNA can be obtained from gum, a used cup, skin cells or fallen hair.A judge signed off on investigators taking a swab of the inside of the Oregon man’s mouth.(The Los Angeles Times is not naming the man or his family because he’s never been accused of a crime. A second person was also tested sometime in the past eight weeks, Holes said.“This is the closest match ever seen,” the warrant says.