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BANGKOK 19 January 2019 07:56
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California police use genealogy websites to arrest suspect in 1990s rapes

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California police use genealogy websites to arrest suspect in 1990s rapes

By Dan Whitcomb

 

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Kevin Konther, 53, suspected of committing multiple rapes in the 1990s, including the kidnapping and rape of a 9-year-old girl, is seen in this Orange County Sheriff’s Department, California, U.S., photo released January 11, 2019. Courtesy Orange County Sheriff’s Department/Handout via REUTERS

 

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California man has been arrested in connection to rapes committed in the 1990s after his DNA was linked to the crime scenes through commercial genealogy websites, which initially turned up the both the suspect and his twin, police said on Friday.

 

Kevin Konther, 53, was taken into custody on Thursday at his home in Southern California and booked on suspicion of rape, kidnapping and child sexual abuse, Orange County Sheriff's spokeswoman Carrie Braun said. One of the victims was nine years old at the time of the attack.

 

Konther was identified as a suspect by sheriff's detectives using techniques similar to those used in recent years to help solve a number of older crimes. Last year, a 73-year-old former police officer was arrested over the 'Golden State Killer' string of murders and rapes across California in the 1970s and 1980s.

 

In investigating the 1990s rapes, which were committed in Orange County, investigators working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation compared DNA samples collected at two crime scenes to that found on the websites used by consumers to trace their ancestry, Braun said.

 

Detectives use the sites to follow the family trees of matches, seeking blood relatives who roughly fit the profile of the suspected criminal.

 

Both Konther and his twin brother were taken into custody on Thursday before investigators identified Konther as the suspect and released his brother, who has not been publicly identified, Braun said. She declined to name the website used or the family member whose DNA led to the suspect.

 

Konther was being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending an initial court appearance scheduled for Monday, where he will be arraigned on two counts of felony rape, oral copulation on a child under the age of 14, lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14 and aggravated sexual assault.

 

The sheriff's department asked the public to come forward with any information about the case. It was not immediately clear if Konther had retained an attorney.

 

The nine-year-old victim was walking home from a Lake Forest, California convenience store on the evening of October 21, 1995, when a man pulled her into a wooded area and raped her, according to the sheriff's department.

 

Three years later, a 31-year-old woman jogging on a trail in Mission Viejo, California, was pulled her into the bushes by a man who raped her before fleeing.

 

Both victims reported the attacks to police but for more than two decades the DNA collected did not match any suspects in an FBI database, Braun said.

 

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-01-12
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So Kevin Konther has been identified, but his twin brother not.

I dont think there will be anybody in his vicinity who doesn't know who the twin brother is now.

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1 hour ago, seahorse said:

Note to self - never use a genealogy website. 

The police use the rapists' sperm sample and look for a match, so if you haven't done anything evil there is no problem, and Im sure you would want the police to catch the rapist that raped your child, wouldn't you?

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9 minutes ago, Tailwagsdog said:

The police use the rapists' sperm sample and look for a match, so if you haven't done anything evil there is no problem, and Im sure you would want the police to catch the rapist that raped your child, wouldn't you?

I bet you're the life and soul of parties. 

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6 minutes ago, seahorse said:

I bet you're the life and soul of parties. 

Why, anything wrong with his remark?

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Isn't this how the entire steriods scandal in baseball unfolded as well? Anonymous tests that were seized I believe. 

 

This has always been true i suppose. If someone tells you xyz is 100% private and secure... it is not. Period. 

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Going to get interesting when victims or their children are able to identify the rapist when the police could not after years of investigations.

 

There must be quite a few men rather worried now.

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6 hours ago, roquefort said:

If he is the guy who comitted the rapes then obviously this is a good result. But how do the police get access to supposedly confidential DNA records on the Ancestry.com website? Raises serious privacy questions. 

I've done that test, but I wouldn't have if I'd known that any police force can get access to the database for a fishing expedition (not that I have anything to hide of course).

Of course!

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6 hours ago, seahorse said:

Note to self - never use a genealogy website. 

As another member noted, it doesn't necessarily have to be your DNA in the database.   It could be a relative, and it might not even be a close relative.   That can point the police in the right direction, then it's a matter of eliminating those who were not even close to the crime scene.  

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I don't know if 17 years is too big an age gap but that's the gap between my wife 61 and I 78, but we began as she kept my Apartment clean and she was paid a living wage(at that time 2,500 Baht Month). She really enjoyed the salary and the job was easy. She didn't particularly like falangs or farangs however you want to spell it until one time she became ill. I provided for her and had a Doctor in to check her out. She was sick for about a week and my caring for her changed her mind about foreign man. I asked her to move in and she's been with me ever since. She thinks she the lucky one but I know I'm the lucky one. In the process of a physical an x-ray showed a round stair that didn't belong there. The operation removed it. 13 years later she saw her surgeon and after much prodding he recalled her among many similar patients but more surprising he said she was among the few who survived that cancer. We never shared a "wild" life but enjoyed each other and still do. My cancer has ended my mia amor which she likes. So for those caught up in an unhappy old/young relationship, you have my sympathy.

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