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California police offer $50,000 reward in long-unsolved murders

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© REUTERS/Fred Greaves
A police officer removes items in evidence bags from the home of Joseph James Deangelo, who was arrested for the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker/Golden State Killer case in Citrus Heights, California, U.S., April 26, 2018.

By Dan Whitcomb, Reuters

California law enforcement officials on Friday offered a $50,000 reward to help crack the 1991 murders of an aspiring crime scene investigator and her family, hoping to capitalize on advances in DNA technology and publicity surrounding another high-profile case.

In announcing a new push to solve the 27-year-old killings of state employee Marcy Jacobs, her husband and her daughter, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said they hoped new witnesses would come forward.

"Over the years, this case has been very challenging for multiple investigators. Due to forensic advances, detectives working with the California Department of Justice have again begun actively working this case," Hahn said in a statement.

"We are hoping with the passage of time, and the offer of a $50,000 reward, anyone who has information regarding this incident will come forward to help solve this extremely violent crime," Hahn said.

DNA evidence was collected from the crime scene at the Jacobs' Sacramento home, but police declined to say if investigators were employing techniques similar to those used in the separate "Golden State Killer" case to try to identify a culprit.

Former police officer Joseph James DeAngelo, 72, was arrested in April and charged with 12 murders in the 1970s and 1980s attributed to the long-elusive Golden State Killer.

DeAngelo was identified as a suspect after detectives compared DNA from several crime scenes to online DNA-genealogy data, finding a partial match in a distant relative. Some experts have raised ethical questions about use by law enforcement of consumer genealogy websites.

Authorities do not believe there is a link between the Jacobs case and the Golden State Killer murders.

Marcy Jacobs, a 31-year-old California Department of Justice staff services employee, was attending night classes to become a crime scene investigator when she was found dead at her home on Jan. 14, 1991, along with her husband Michael, 33, and daughter Jenny, 9.

"Obviously there have been advancements in that (DNA) area, also relationships change over time," public information officer Vance Chandler of the California Department of Justice said in reference to the Jacobs case, declining to elaborate.

Detectives have long believed that the murders were carried out by more than one suspect who came to the home seeking valuables stored in a safe there by a friend of Michael Jacobs.

"We call on the public to help bring their killers to justice," Becerra said in a statement. "We owe the Jacobs family and all their loved ones nothing less."

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Will Dunham)

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