The arrest this week of a man wanted in connection with the murders and rapes of several victims in the 1970s and 1980s was, in large part, thanks to technology.

Suspect Joseph DeAngelo, 72, was arrested this week in a suburb of Sacramento, California, in connection with violent crimes that took place in that state during the 1970s and 1980s, earning the then-unknown assailant the moniker “the Golden State Killer.”

After 40-plus years spent looking for a suspect, DeAngelo was located when DNA from some of the crime scenes was compared with DNA kept in a database on an unnamed genealogical website used by people to determine their genealogy.

The DNA recovered from some of the crime scenes matched with one of DeAngelo’s distant relatives and investigators eventually narrowed down data, such as the likely age of the assailant, leading to the suspect all these years later.

After a period of surveillance, the suspect was arrested once “discarded DNA” matched with that found at the crime scenes.

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