Matthew Nilo is a New Jersey lawyer charged with a number of Boston rapes that occurred 16 years ago. According to CeCe Moore, the advances in DNA technology have led to “a new kind of criminal” suspect.
Boston Police and the FBI used genetic genealogy for investigative purposes to arrest Nilo after several rapes occurred in the Terminal Street Area of Charlestown in 2007 and 2008.
“We’ve seen genetic genealogy used to identify a so-called ‘new criminal’, someone who commits a violent crime and then lives a normal life. Moore, the chief genetic genealogist at Parabon NanoLabs told Fox News Digital that a person who has a family and is active in their community, as well as having a career, would be considered a ‘new type of criminal.
This is different, because it is a repeat offender.
Moore called genetic genealogy “an unbiased tool” because it is based on science and genealogy, not a person’s criminal history or demographics.
Nilo, according to his Facebook profile, proposed to his fiancée just a few weeks before his arrest for the series alleged rapes.
He earned his bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After two years of paralegal work, he moved on to the University of San Francisco School of Law.
LinkedIn says that Nilo then worked for the Clyde & Co. firm in San Francisco and Atheria Law, in New York City, as well as Cowbell Cyber, in New York.
LinkedIn shows that he was 19 or 20 at the time the alleged assaults took place. He would also have been in college.
She said that the relatively new technology links more people with past crimes.
This is a great example of the power that investigative genetic genealogy can have. Moore said that this was someone who had managed to remain under the radar and appeared to be a good citizen. He would not have been caught by using a traditional investigation method because he wasn’t the kind of person who would be typically suspected of such a crime.
Moore stated that investigators would have collected the DNA directly from the assaults in 2007 and 2008 using rape kits.
They would then have run the DNA through CODIS, which is a database of DNA of convicted criminals, but there was no match when the crime occurred.
Joe Bonavolonta, FBI Boston’s Special Agent in Charge, said at a Tuesday press conference that many investigative and science techniques have been improved or created by new technological advances.
Moore explained that investigators have retested the DNA samples taken from crime scenes and run them through the latest genetic genealogy databases. They then generated a list of matches and created family trees in order to narrow down the common ancestors, which would help them find relatives.
She said that a serial criminal would usually live near the crime scene.
“Sometimes, the genetic genealogy can lead you to just one person. Other times, it may take you to a group of siblings or cousins. Then, law enforcement will look to see who is the most likely suspect.
Bonavolonta confirmed on Tuesday that “any crimes” the FBI tries to solve using genetic genealogy must “be based on a final comparison of the crime scene DNA with DNA from the suspect”, in addition to what “any other customer would receive” when they use a publicly available genealogical service.
When investigators have narrowed down a suspect they will discreetly collect a sample of DNA from them. This could be from a trashcan, a cigarette holder or a handle. Then, they can compare the DNA of the suspect with the DNA at the crime scene.
Michael Cox, Boston Police Chief and Commissioner, said that all four cases of sexual assault are “DNA connected”
In this case the investigators were led to Nilo who, according to reports, plans to plead guilty.
“Mr. Nilo looks forward to returning to Massachusetts.” “He’ll enter a not guilty plea, and he looks forward to fighting charges and showing that his innocence,” his lawyer, Jeff Garrigan told reporters following his first hearing on Thursday.
The suspect has been charged with 3 counts of aggravated assault, 2 counts of kidnapping and 1 count of assaulting with the intent to rape.
Nilo was indicted by the Superior Court of Suffolk County in Massachusetts but he has not yet been arraigned. He faces extradition to Boston.