In April 2018, police in California arrested Joseph James DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former police officer, in connection with the 1978 murders of Katie and Brian Maggiore, killings that had been linked to the Golden State Killer, who was also known as the East Side Rapist. Quickly, other arrests in other cold cases followed, including in the 1987 deaths of a young Canadian couple in Washington State and in the Ramsey Street Rapist cases.
But the practice has also raised concerns about privacy and regulation. Wired notes that much of the field is only constrained by the terms of services of the databases used, though some states in the US are pushing for restrictions on genetic genealogy, such as limiting its use to violent crimes or when all other investigative approaches have been exhausted.
Genetic genealogist CeCe Moore — who is now with Parabon NanoLabs where she works on forensic genetic genealogy — tells Wired that she is also concerned about certification, as there is currently no group that bestows genetic genealogy credentials. "That's a problem, because someone getting arrested as a result of your work is about as high stakes as it gets," Moore tells it.