California Familial Search Leads to Arrest of Serial Killer
Saturday, July 31, 2010
On July 7th, 2010, Los Angeles Police arrested Lonnie D. Franklin Jr., for the murder of at least 10 residents in South Los Angeles over the past 25 years. Franklin Jr. was known as the Grim Sleeper. His killing spree spanned from 1985 to 2007. This is the first time an active familial search has been used by law enforcement to solve a homicide case in the United States.
The California state DNA lab, in conjunction with the state attorney general's office, ran a familial DNA search for the Grim Sleeper in 2008 that was unsuccessful. But in 2010, there was the second run through the system, and the department "learned of a man that as we know now turned out to be a direct relative of our suspect." said Detective Dennis Kilcoyne, who led the investigation. A DNA link was found between evidence from the old crime scenes and that of Mr. Franklin's son, Christopher, who was incarcerated in 2009 on a felony weapons conviction. As a result of this conviction, Christopher had to submit his DNA for the database. The authorities were then able to narrow their focus to the elder Mr. Franklin and looked at the proximity of his residence to the crime scenes, race, age and other factors. Police then conducted around-the-clock surveillance of Mr. Franklin, following him as he walked or went on drives, and retrieved a plate and napkin he had thrown away after eating pizza, which provided the DNA match and led to his arrest.
Read the article here.