306: Steve Kramer and Steve Busch – Investigative Genetic Genealogy, Golden State Killer

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.

Golden State Killer forensic genetic genealogy team Sacramento District Attorney Investigator Kirk Campbell, Paul Holes – Ret. Contra Costa County District Attorney Investigator (second from left), Steve Kramer – FBI LA Associate Division Counsel (center), Melissa Parisot – FBI LA Analyst, and Monica Czajkowski – Analyst, Sacramento District Attorney’s Office. (Not pictured – Barbara Rae-Venter, genealogist).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Special Agent (Retired)

Stephen Busch

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.

Steve Kramer and Steve Busch presenting at CrimeCon with Paul Holes about investigative genetic genealogy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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:

242: Julia Cowley – Golden State Killer, BAU Profiler

 

Jerri Williams

View posts by Jerri Williams
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, jokes that she writes about the FBI to relive her glory days. After 26 years with the Bureau specializing in major economic fraud and corruption investigations, she calls on her professional encounters with scams and schemers to write police procedurals inspired by true crime FBI cases in her Philadelphia FBI Corruption Squad crime fiction series featuring flawed female FBI agent Kari Wheeler. Jerri’s FBI for Armchair Detectives nonfiction series enables readers to discover who the FBI is and what the FBI does by debunking misconceptions about the FBI in books, TV, and movies. Her books are available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks wherever books are sold. She’s also the host of FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast with more than 250 episodes available for free on all popular podcast apps.

5 Comments

  1. TheJeepDivaFebruary 19, 2024

    Fascinating podcast episode! The investigative use of genetic genealogy in solving the Golden State Killer case is truly impressive. The collaboration between Steve Kramer and Steve Busch is a great example of how technology can be used in law enforcement to bring criminals to justice. I’m looking forward to seeing more developments in this field in the future.

    Reply
    1. Jerri WilliamsFebruary 19, 2024

      It is indeed an amazing use of genetics to solve crimes. Thanks for listening.

      Reply
  2. TechyListFebruary 3, 2024

    Fascinating to see the impact of investigative genetic genealogy on cold cases like the Golden State Killer. The collaboration between Steve Kramer and Steve Busch is truly inspiring and highlights the power of teamwork in solving crimes.

    Reply
    1. Jerri WilliamsFebruary 3, 2024

      I agree. I learned so much from their case review about how this technology will reduce the number of unsolved cases.

      Reply
  3. […] 306: Steve Kramer and Steve Busch – Investigative Genetic Genealogy, Golden State Killer […]

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