The “Golden State Killer,” now known as Joseph James DeAngelo, was arrested last week for a dozen murders and 50 rapes during the mid-1970’s to 1980’s in California. Months of comparing crime-scene DNA to genetic information on an online database led to his identification and arrest.
While the case has a tie to Lamesa, the technique is tied to all of Texas.
DNA in the CODIS system aided in the investigations of over 30,000 cases in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
DNA profiling is utilized across the nation to identify criminals. According to the DPS, as of March 2018, there are more than 850,000 offender profiles in Texas and more than 13 million nationally stored in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a federal database of DNA.
“It does work. Some of these offenders where we do find DNA at crime scenes offend again. When they offend again, we will get DNA, it is sent into the CODIS system and it matches a prior crime,” said Lt. Bryan Witt, a public information officer for Texas DPS.
The Hub City is no different. DPS, Lubbock Police, and the FBI work together in collecting evidence and analyzing DNA to aid investigations, according to Witt.
Lubbock Police works closely with Texas DPS and “relies on DPS Laboratories for all DNA testing of evidence,” according to Tiffany Taylor, public information officer for LPD.
LPD officers and investigators collect the evidence related to the case and if DNA is found or could be present, investigators send evidence to be tested by DPS, said Taylor.
“This partnership is extremely important and essential to the criminal cases investigated by Lubbock Police,” she stated.
In a 2014 Lubbock case, Billy Jack Limbaugh was arrested and charged with the murder of Monica Adams. Later, Limbaugh took a plea deal and was sentenced to eight years for aggravated assault.
Leading up to the break in the case, Limbuagh’s father was arrested for an unrelated charge. DNA from his father was a close DNA match to materials found at the Adams murder investigation. Further testing led Limbaugh to be a match, according to police at the time.
More recently, local law enforcement are utilizing a new program called Familia DNA to aid in investigations, said Witt.
“We can now look at DNA from family members because they are close in DNA structure. So we may get a hit from a family member of the person that committed the crime, and it narrows it down to a family,” said Witt. “We are starting to solve more and more cases through Familia search.”
DNA is collected into the system for 11 reasons, usually from a violent crime, said Witt. This includes crimes like aggravated kidnapping, sexual assault, indecency with child, prohibited sexual assault, burglary, trafficking, and prostitution.
However, Witt said DNA profiling is a helpful step to find a suspect, its just one of their many tools they use to catch them.