Oklahoma Police Use Golden State Killer Method To Crack Cold Case From 2004

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Earlier this year, California police discovered the identity of one of its most iconic serial killers, the Golden State Killer. Since the arrest of Joseph Deangelo, who committed 50 rapes and killed at least a dozen people between 1974 and 1986, several other cold cases have been solved using the same methods. According to the Tulsa World, police are crossing their fingers and hoping that the same methods used to capture Deangelo will help solve a 14-year-old cold case.

In 2004, 18-year-old Brittany Philips was found raped and strangled in her apartment. At the time of the crime, police said there was evidence of forced entry into the Tulsa University student’s home. Though police received several tips, none of them yielded anything. Detective Eddie Majors, a homicide detective who handles Tulsa’s cold cases, said that the hardest thing about it was getting people to open up to him.

“That is the biggest thing I have a hard time with. Like, you know someone committed an evil act against another person. They killed somebody, and you say nothing,” he said. “But if it was your loved one, you’d demand people talk.”

Though Philips’ mother, Maggie Zingman, actively worked to bring her daughter’s killer to justice, detectives often found it hard to be around her knowing that the case has been cold.

“It really bothers me to the core that this woman is trying to find something, and we are not able to give her the information that she needs, like who did it,” said Majors.

But after DNA was sent to Parabon NanoLabs in January, a composite sketch of the killer was generated by their computer. The composite said that, based on the samples found at the scene, the killer is likely a “white male with a fair complexion, green or blue eyes, and either brown or blond hair.”

Now, Majors is having the lab run a genealogy test on the killer’s DNA, hoping to have the same luck as California. The Golden State Killer, who had been a former cop for Auburn and Exeter, respectively, was caught after DNA from a genealogy website piqued police’s interest. After narrowing their search of Deangelo’s family to Deangelo himself, the Solano County police set up a surveillance for Deangelo. After matching DNA found on a discarded item of Deangelo’s to that from the genealogy website, Deangelo was arrested.

After the Golden State Killer’s arrest, Parabon NanoLabs started getting requests from law enforcement looking to replicate California’s success. As of today, they have reviewed about 150 cold cases.