Once again, police have successfully utilized genealogy websites to capture a killer in a previously unsolvable case. John Arthur Getreu, a 74-year-old resident of Hayward, was taken into custody by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department on November 20th for the 1973 murder of a Stanford graduate.
Over four decades ago, Leslie Perlov was studying law at Stanford. At around 3 P.M. on February 13, 1973, she mysteriously disappeared. Her deceased body was found three days later by authorities. Deputies were disturbed to find the victim’s skirt provocatively pulled up and her pantyhose in her mouth. Police initially failed to identify Getreu as a suspect. At the time, he was living in the Palo Alto area and worked as a security guard.
The case eventually went cold until authorities learned about the newest groundbreaking genealogical mapping techniques. Officers submitted DNA samples from the cold case to Parabon NanoLabs who quickly matched the DNA to Getreu. Next, sheriff’s collected a reference sample of DNA from the suspect through “surveillance and investigation.” They matched the two samples, and they confirmed the match. Investigators looked into the suspect’s background and found some disturbing details. In 1964, he was convicted of murdering and raping a 16-year-old female in Germany. He served a short sentence as he was only 18-years-old at the time of his conviction. He later returned to the United States. In 1975, he was convicted of raping an underage female in Palo Alto.
Getreu is currently being detained at the Main Jail without bail.