“There’s always evil people”
Podcaster Mike Morford says genetic genealogy won’t stop crime, but it will help solve it
In your opinion, how is genetic genealogy, or forensic genealogy, changing the way in which police investigate crimes, especially cold cases?
Forensic genealogy is the way of the future in crime fighting and solving. There are very few ‘ perfect’ crimes, and usually, the perpetrator has left behind something that can be used to identify him. With Joseph DeAngelo, he left a lot of DNA, and science, emerging technology and good oldfashioned police work came together to catch him. That has created a blueprint for other investigators of unsolved cold cases with DNA evidence, and in recent months many of those investigators have taken that information and run with it to identify criminals who have eluded them for years.
What are the ethical implications of this kind of work? Are people you’ve talked to or who have communicated with you concerned about potential privacy issues?
The ethical implications of this kind of work remain to be determined, but the entire process, when done correctly and ethically, is very effective. However, some fear there is a ‘ Big Brother’ feel to the entire subject of DNA and genealogy.
Some are reluctant to add their DNA to an open source DNA database, seemingly convinced that somehow it will be misused.
On a personal level, my thinking is, if you haven’t done anything wrong, why would you care if it helps identify a monster? How can you not get on board with wanting to get these people off the street? As an advocate for victims of crime and their families, who deserve justice, I am happy to endorse the use of genetic genealogy.
What are the cold cases you’d love to see solved using genetic genealogy?
That’s a great question – the Zodiac Killer, for sure. It’s one of America’s biggest true crime mysteries, one that has fascinated people for the past 50 years. However, I have so many cases I hope to see solved – older ones, like the 1975 murder of Lindy Sue Biechler in Pennsylvania, or newer ones, such as the 2017 murders of Liberty German and Abigail Williams in Delphi, Indiana. There will always be evil people committing evil crimes, but it would be refreshing for them not to escape identification for decades.