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Suspected Golden State Killer Was Nabbed by DNA Obtained in Hobby Lobby Parking Lot

Newly released court documents show Joseph James DeAngelo, the recently named suspect in the decades-old Golden State Killer case, was arrested after police obtained DNA from his car door as he shopped.

DeAngelo — suspected of 57 attacks, 13 homicides and 120 burglaries in California between 1974 and 1986 — was inside a Hobby Lobby store on April 20, when police gathered the DNA evidence from his car door handle in the Roseville, Calif., parking lot.

According to the affidavit released on Friday, that DNA sample was linked to a sample from the 1980 Lyman and Charlene Smith double homicide.

Additional DNA samples were taken by police three days later from DeAngelo’s trash can located at his Citrus Heights residence, and were also linked to the Golden State Killer case, the affidavit states.

Investigators went looking for DeAngelo’s DNA in the Hobby Lobby parking lot after they established the 72-year-old former police officer as a suspect in the Golden State Killer case through genealogy website data.

DNA from the Golden State Killer’s crime scenes had been compared with that data, and investigators were able to make a familial match to someone blood-related to their suspect. Investigators then searched that match’s family tree for possible suspects in the case, which led them to DeAngelo.