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Police Say They’ve Solved Cold Case from 1973 After Sending Murder Suspect’s DNA to Genealogical Website


The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office claim they have solved a 1973 murder after submitting DNA for a genealogy analysis, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. California man John Arthur Getreu, 74, was arrested Tuesday in the death of 21-year-old Leslie Marie Perlov. Jail records obtained by Law&Crime show he is being held without bail, and is scheduled for a court hearing to occur Monday.

This case was evocative of the Golden State Killer case. Authorities in that investigation had DNA they believed belonged to the murderer, burglar, and rapist who terrorized California from 1974 to 1986. They uploaded this profile to an ancestry website, and while they didn’t find the suspect, they did find people apparently related to him. From there, investigators claimed they were able to track down septuagenarian former cop Joseph James DeAngelo.

Santa Clara Sheriff’s Lt. Julian Quiñonez said Getreu was found the same way.

“This all started with the Golden State Killer case,” he said, according to The Mercury News. “We got two leads on two major cases.”

Perlov, a Stanford University alumna who would’ve gone on to Princeton law, was found strangled to death. Prosecutors said that the killer was trying to rape her. Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Matt Braker credited her with getting some of the attackers’ DNA when she fought back. That sample, in return, was submitted for testing. Investigators said a “discarded DNA sample” from Getreu showed it was him.

[Image via Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office]

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