We can even have more surprising findings as we move from family trees and we let our genealogists document and crowdsource DNA information. And the results can be amazing. It might be hard to imagine, but Uncle Bernie and his friends can create DNA forensic capabilities that even exceed what the FBI currently has. When you place the DNA on a large family tree, you effectively create a beacon that illuminates the hundreds of distant relatives that are all connected to the person that originated the DNA. By placing multiple beacons on a large family tree, you can now triangulate the DNA of an unknown person, the same way that the GPS system uses multiple satellites to find a location.
The prime example of the power of this technique is capturing the Golden State Killer, one of the most notorious criminals in the history of the US. The FBI had been searching for this person for over 40 years. They had his DNA, but he never showed up in any police database. About a year ago, the FBI consulted a genetic genealogist, and she suggested that they submit his DNA to a genealogy service that can locate distant relatives. They did that, and they found a third cousin of the Golden State Killer. They built a large family tree, scanned the different branches of that tree, until they found a profile that exactly matched what they knew about the Golden State Killer. They obtained DNA from this person and found a perfect match to the DNA they had in hand. They arrested him and brought him to justice after all these years. Since then, genetic genealogists have started working with local US law enforcement agencies to use this technique in order to capture criminals. And only in the past six months, they were able to solve over 20 cold cases with this technique.