Rapist suspect caught using familial DNA
The man suspected of being the East Coast Rapist is now behind bars, caught in part by using DNA evidence.
But the suspect, Aaron Thomas, 39, wasn’t in the DNA database. His brother’s DNA was.
Thomas’ brother is serving time behind bars for murder. It’s a case of familial DNA, where authorities collect near matches of genetic evidence from family members of suspects.
Authorities said they wished the familial DNA program was up and running when the East Coast Rapist began his alleged crime spree more than a decade ago.
“Had that program been in place, I think an arrest would have been made much sooner than it was,” said Paul Ebert, Prince William Commonwealth’s attorney.
After a push from prosecutors and the families of victims of unsolved crimes, Virginia will become the nation’s third state to use familial DNA.
The parents of Morgan Harrington, the 20-year-old student who was abducted and killed after leaving a Metallica concert at the University of Virginia last year said the technology gives them more hope.
“It is one more tool and one more thing for us to able to find out who did this,” Dan Harrington, Morgan’s father, said.
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