Inside the Law: Genealogy DNA Sample from a Relative

May 28, 2018 - 3:15 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions​

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The Golden State killer was finally found forty years after his murder, rape, and burglary crime spree began, and it was his family who unwittingly turned him in. 
According to news reports, investigators searched databases to identify likely relatives of the person who may have committed the crimes. 

How did they force relatives to give DNA samples? 

They probably didn’t. The relatives probably gave it with no intent to implicate a relative—just as you may have already done. 


When you blithely swabbed a cheek to find out your genealogy. 

Ancestry.com and 23andme and other websites that collect DNA even say that they may be required to provide it as part of an investigation. And the police are free to get a warrant and get that information. 

When you’re voluntarily giving away a lot of information about yourself and the people you love and then decide how important it is to know for sure that you’re 16% Irish or Italian or other. 

In the case of the Golden State killer, the victims and perhaps even his relatives are incredibly grateful to have the suspect off the street. 

But you need to decide how much information you’re willing to give to police about all your relatives before you send your DNA off for analysis.