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Investigators used Florida genealogy website to help identify Golden State killer

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Investigators used Florida genealogy website to help identify serial killer (WPEC)

The arrest of an alleged serial rapist and murder suspect in California is making major headlines.

It turns out there’s a local connection to this story.

A small single-story yellow house with robin’s egg blue shutters on First Avenue South in Lake Worth may look nondescript, nothing unusual about it.

But on the inside, it’s home to GED Match, a genealogy website that played a big role in getting the so-called Golden State Killer Joesph DeAngelo behind bars.

“That’s crazy,” said neighbor Andre Heizer.

Heizer is stunned, as he never gave the little yellow house much thought.

“To think inside of there, there’s like an operation that helped bust a criminal, that’s pretty awesome,” he said.

Using the suspect’s genetic profile from crime scene evidence, investigators searched genealogy websites for possible matches.

“I believe very strongly that it's the greatest tool ever given to law enforcement,” said Anne Marie Schubert, Sacramento County District Attorney.

They got a partial match to one of Joseph DeAngelo’s relatives on GED match, and were able to get enough evidence that led to his arrest.

“I was hugely excited," said Ruth Ballard, a forensic DNA consultant at California State University. "I didn’t really think they were gonna solve this case quite frankly.”

Police say DeAngelo killed 12 people and committed over 40 rapes in California dating back to 1976.

Inside GED match, you won’t find any high-tech computers or equipment—just a fairly routine looking office with a desk.

Curtis Rogers, one of the co-owners of GED match, declined to comment on camera.

“It’s nice to see a scumbag like this is taken off the street," he said.

This national news story is putting Lake Worth, a city with a population of about 38,000, on the map.

“To find out that my city here in Lake Worth, they’re located here and they have those capabilities, that’s pretty incredible,” Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein said.

Rogers says he had no idea their website was used in the investigation until he got a call late Thursday night from a reporter in California.

He too was a bit surprised by all the attention.