In part one of this two-part episode, retired Bureau attorney Steve Kramer and retired agent Steve Busch review how Steve Kramer teamed up with Paul Holes, an investigator for the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, to use Investigative Genetic Genealogy to generate leads to identify the person known as the Golden State Killer.
Prior to them working together, fifteen different law enforcement agencies spent 43 years, 200,000-work hours, and $10M trying to figure out who did it. Kramer and Holes took a different approach, and assembled and led a team of 6 people, spent $217, and identified Joseph James DeAngelo as the infamous Golden State Killer after only 63 days. Kramer and Busch then teamed up at the Orange County Resident Agency to form the FBI’s first forensic genetic genealogy team.
FBI Attorney (Retired)
R. Stephen Kramer
2001 – 2021
“Paul Holes and I called each other, and we were like two kids at Christmas. Like literally, we were so excited. We had thousands of matches, thousands of relatives of the Golden State Killer. The first forensic lead in 43 years.”—Retired FBI Attorney Steve Kramer
Steve Kramer served in the FBI for 20 years. He was an in-house counsel for the Los Angeles Division, responsible for legal matters in the FBI’s criminal and national security investigations, where he oversaw the FBI’s investigative techniques and strategies.
Previously, Steve had worked as a federal prosecutor, and deputy district attorney, where he prosecuted homicide cases, corporate fraud cases and national security cases. After assembling and leading the team of investigators that solved the notorious Golden State Killer case, he finished his Bureau career as the cofounder of the FBI’s national genetic genealogy team.
Special Agent (Retired)
2002 – 2021
“One of the questions that we get often asked is, well, how’s this going to hold up in court? Is it going to be okay in a legal setting? Are we going to be able to overcome some of the legal hurdles? One of the things that Steve and I have pushed with investigators from the beginning is, this is for investigative leads only.”—Retired Agent Stephen Busch
Stephen Busch served in the FBI for 19 years. Formerly a private sector engineer, in the FBI, he worked a variety of investigative assignments, including counterterrorism and white-collar crime, while also honing his leadership skills as a SWAT Sniper Team Leader in the Los Angeles Division.
As the architect of the FBI’s National Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) program (now known as Investigative Genetic Genealogy or IGG) program, he is the co-founder of the FBI’s first FGG team, the first agent assigned to work full time to assist law enforcement agencies in the identification of suspects using genetic genealogy, and the cofounder of the FBI’s national investigative genetic genealogy team.
In 2021, Stephen Busch and Steve Kramer left the FBI and founded Indago Solutions, an AI-based software as a service that automates genetic genealogy to produce investigative leads and identify suspects.
They continue to work regularly with the US Department of Justice and with state and local investigators to help solve cases through the use of DNA databases.
The following are links to the interim DOJ guidelines and articles about investigative genetic genealogy and the Golden State Killer:
DOJ Interim Policy – 11/01/2019: Forensic Genetic Genealogical Dna Analysis And Searching Guidelines
National Institutes of Health Library – 8/1/2022: Bridging Disciplines to Form a New One: The Emergence of Forensic Genetic Genealogy
NBC 26 (VIDEO) – 12/27/2020: Local man’s Work with FBI Helps Crack Green Bay Cold Case, Colleagues Say
Los Angeles Magazine – 2/27/2013: In the Footsteps of a Killer, By Michelle McNamara
New York Times – 4/27/2018: To Catch a Killer: A Fake Profile on a DNA Site and a Pristine Sample
Washington Post – 4/26/2018: ‘We found the needle in the haystack’: Golden State Killer suspect arrested after sudden DNA match
New York Times – 2/4/2019: FamilyTreeDNA Admits to Sharing Genetic Data With F.B.I.
Wall Street Journal – 8/22/2019: Customers Handed Over Their DNA. The Company Let the FBI Take a Look
The Intercept – 8/29/2023: FBI Hoovering Up DNA At A Pace That Rivals China, Holds 21 Million Samples And Counting
Listen to this episode to learn more about the Golden State Killer investigation: