By Tim Stelloh, NBC News
A Pennsylvania man accused of raping four Penn State University students over seven years and who was identified through genetic genealogy was arrested Tuesday, authorities said.
Jeffrey Fields, 36, faces multiple counts of felony rape, sexual assault and other crimes, the State College Police Department said in a statement.
Officials say Fields assaulted the students — who were 19 or 20 — beginning in 2010 at locations near the university. The last attack happened in 2017, the department said.
DNA samples were initially connected to an unknown suspect, police said. Using genetic genealogy — a technique that matches DNA samples with profiles from genetic testing companies for consumers — investigators identified Fields as a suspect.
The process has been used to crack dozens of high-profile cold cases from across the United States, including a former police officer in California who pleaded guilty last month to 13 counts of murder.
The so-called Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo, 74, was accused of committing 13 murders and dozens of rapes in the state between 1975 and 1986.
No additional details about Fields’ arrest were immediately released. It wasn’t clear if Fields, who is being held at the Centre County Correctional Facility, has a lawyer.