What Does A Retired Attorney Do After Helping Solve the Golden State Killer Case?

Barbara Rae-Venter’s story has helped inspire others to help law enforcement with unsolved cases.

golden state killer
Joseph James DeAngelo, the suspected "Golden State Killer", appears in court for his arraignment on April 27, 2018 in Sacramento, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

At first, the genetic genealogist who helped crack the unsolved case of the Golden State Killer didn’t want to be named, because she was worried about her safety. But last week, the 70-year-old former attorney, who lives in California, decided that she was ready. She approved a tweet that included her name by Paul Holes, a retired investigator at the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office.

The response she received once being revealed as playing an important role in identifying Joseph DeAngelo, a former police officer now charged with killing 14 women across California in the 1970s and 1980s, has moved her.

The Golden State Killer investigation has inspired others skilled at solving family puzzles to offer their services to law enforcement. Rae-Venter became an expert in genetic sleuthing techniques mainly to help a newfound cousin after the two matched on the website Family Tree DNA in 2012.

“I am a retired patent attorney,” said Ms. Rae-Venter to The Times. “None of this is a planned event.”

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.