Va. Prosecutor: Familial DNA Testing Could Have Caught Rapist | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Va. Prosecutor: Familial DNA Testing Could Have Caught Rapist

Play associated audio

Prince William County Commonwealth's attorney Paul Ebert says to him, the East Coast Rapist could have attacked any woman at any time, an idea that for Ebert makes the case only comparable to the DC Sniper investigation.

"It was music to my ears to hear that he had been arrested," he says.

But Ebert says Friday's arrest of 39-year-old Aaron Thomas, in New Haven, Conn., could have come years ago, had authorities in Connecticut had access to familial DNA searches.

The practice allows law enforcement to take unidentified DNA samples, and find close matches, indicating a familial relationship.

"We know that one of his family members had been arrested well prior to these recent crimes," Ebert says of Thomas.

The technology for such searches is readily available, but most states don't allow familial DNA testing because of privacy concerns.

Partly because of the unsolved East Coast Rapist cases, Virginia's Department of Forensic Science started testing the software needed to perform familial DNA searches in January.

NPR

How'd A Cartoonist Sell His First Drawing? It Only Took 610 Tries

Tom Toro was a directionless 20-something film school dropout. Then, after an inspired moment at a used book sale, he started submitting drawings to The New Yorker ... and collecting rejection slips.
NPR

Will Environmentalists Fall For Faux Fish Made From Plants?

A handful of chefs and food companies are experimenting with fish-like alternatives to seafood. But the market is still a few steps behind plant-based products for meat and dairy.
NPR

Will We See Veto Battles On Capitol Hill?

With President Obama promising to vetoes, what are the possibilities of a few veto overrides during the next two years? NPR's Arun Rath puts that questions to the National Journal's Fawn Johnson.
NPR

3 Voices, 1 Threat: Personal Stories Of Cyberhacking

In President Obama's State of the Union address, he gave fresh emphasis to a problem that has been in the headlines: cybersecurity. Here are three people who have experienced security breaches.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.