Sacramento Man Arrested for Multiple Sexual Assaults Thanks to Genetic Genealogy Breakthrough

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Over the course of a decade in Sacramento, California, a man was suspected of several sexual assaults. Today, officials report that they’ve not only managed to identify this man, but they’ve arrested him due to the breakthrough technology of investigative genetic genealogy.

A cold case investigation from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office led to the construction of a complete DNA profile. Spearheaded by investigative genetic genealogy, the team compounded an evidential trail towards the individual believed to be culpable for an assault that took place in 2013 as well as two other occurrences in 2010.

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The identified suspect, a 35-year old named Kabeh Cummings, was taken into custody in New York during last week’s coordinated operation. The united efforts between the police, the sheriff, the district attorney’s office, and the FBI culminated in his capture. Sacramento’s Police Chief Katherine Lester proudly announced the news at a press conference on Tuesday.

Sacramento County District Attorney Thien Ho lauded the tireless, inter-agency effort, saying, “This is a testament to DNA evidence, the driving factor in bringing Cummings to justice.”

Adding to this, Mark Remley, FBI Assistant Special Agent was in charge, underscored how law enforcement agencies must foster a willingness to unify their efforts for the shared objective of safe communities and supporting victims.

Upon arraignment on Wednesday, Cummings faced charges encompassing kidnapping, rape, and sodomy of an unconscious victim, among others. Choosing not to enter a plea, he is scheduled to attend another hearing on September 13.

Alin D. Cintean, a Commissioner of the Sacramento Superior Court, denied bail for Cummings. The ruling followed prosecutors’ contentions that Cummings, a Liberian citizen, would pose not only a flight risk but could potentially inflict injury on the victims further.

A representative has attempted to reach Shelby Alberts, Cummings’ temporarily assigned attorney, for a comment on these ongoing proceedings.

Progress in genetic genealogy — a burgeoning field that melds DNA evidence and traditional genealogy to discover biological connections between individuals — delineated this overwhelmingly successful operation. Law enforcement commonly compares DNA from a crime scene with the DNA of a suspect, and if it coincides, a match is found. But when no match surfaces, the perpetrator’s identity remains cloaked.

By leveraging genetic genealogy, however, law enforcement agencies can submit the DNA to companies capable of identifying the perpetrator’s extended family. The subsequent building of the family tree empowers investigators to narrow their suspect search incrementally.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that this innovative method of investigation has been instrumental in solving a multitude of high-profile cold cases across the United States, notably the infamous case of the Golden State Killer.