With each quantum leap in technology, more killers are coming to the end of the line.
On Tuesday, the Golden State Killer in California pleaded guilty to a slew of homicides that had vexed detectives for decades.
Cops used genealogy websites to match DNA to finally put him behind bars.
Here are some recent cases.
MOTHER-DAUGHTER MURDER STILL COLD
On Sept. 2, 1994, cops in Williamsport, Pennsylvania made a gruesome discovery.
The bodies of Gail Matthews, 23, and her five-year-old daughter Tamara Berkheiser were found beaten and stabbed to death in their modest home.
They were found dead in the bed they shared and Matthews had been sexually assaulted.
The evidence boxes have gathered dust and the files have yellowed but now authorities say they’re taking another run at the case with new DNA testing.
“It’s by far the most heinous murder ever committed in Lycoming County,” District Attorney Ryan C. Gardner said.
“The images formed in your mind when you read the documents are gut-wrenching.”
DNA evidence has been tested in the past but never matched a suspect.
Earl R. “Skip” Kramer III, 54, of Williamsport, was busted for the double murder in 1998 and again in 2002 but charges were dismissed both times.
“If someone’s arrested for murder, there’s a good reason for it. If someone is not prosecuted for it, there’s a good reason for it,” First Assistant District Attorney Martin L. Wade said in reference to Kramer, adding that some DNA may have been overlooked.
He added: “There’s an obligation we have to the family to not stop till we reach a dead end, which we haven’t. This case isn’t an accident. Someone brutally murdered these people.”
MURDER VICTIM GETS HER NAME
She was reported as a runaway from Hood River, Oregon on July 25, 1977.
Cops say 15 days later she was murdered.
Precious Jane Doe’s body was discovered on Aug. 14, 1977 near Everett, Wash..
For decades, investigators had no idea who their Jane Doe was. Now, thanks to DNA and Investigative Genetic Genealogy have identified Elizabeth Ann Roberts, 17, who also went by Lisa Roberts.
She had been reported as a runaway by her dad and he told detectives she called home several weeks later asking for money. It was dutifully sent but never picked up.
“During the murder investigation in 1977, detectives learned Precious Jane Doe was hitchhiking near Silver Lake on August 9, 1977. She was picked up by David Roth who wanted to go swimming at the lake,” cops said in a press release.
“Instead, he gave her a ride and asked her to have sex. When she declined, he strangled her and shot her seven times in the head. Her body was found five days later by residents picking blackberries. She was unrecognizable.”
Roth confessed to the murder and was sentenced to 26 years in prison.
BOY, 14, SLAIN IN 1972
The murder of Michael Akey was right out of every parent’s paranoia playbook.
On June 14, 1972, the 14-year-old and two of his friends were picked up hitchhiking by a man driving a 1962-63 four-door Chevrolet.
As his two friends were attempting to steal watermelons at a market in Burton, South Carolina, the man drove off with Michael in his car.
He was never seen alive again. On Feb. 8, 1978, workers discovered the skeletal remains of a boy and they were identified as Michael’s. His killer has never been identified.
INDICTED IN 2001 MURDERS
Harpo’s Bar was once a popular watering on Highway 51 outside Memphis.
For regulars Patricia Thornton, a 37-year-old mother of three, and her friend Nancy Alvis, 46, it would be last call forever. On Oct. 18, 2001, the two women were found naked and murdered in a field behind the bar.
They had been strangled.
“Everybody been looking for her no one knew where she was or heard from her and that was unusual because she always came around every few days,” customer Wayne Hopper told WMC in 2001.
Now, police have arrested Wayne Maupin, 70, and charged him with the double murder. Cops say he was a suspect at the time, even admitting he knew them and claiming he paid women for sex nearby. Maupin is a real treat.
He had previously been convicted in the 1988 kidnapping and murder in 1988 of a 6-year-old girl.
In 2017, he was convicted for the 2001 stabbing and rape of another woman. DNA and his personalized false teeth sealed the deal in the double slaying.
“He needs to be put behind bars and the key thrown away,” Thornton’s sister Virginia Henry told The Commercial Appeal.