DNA testing on the body of serial criminal exhumed 20 years after his death confirms he killed two teenage cousins found shot dead on the side of a California road in 1982
- Clifton Hudspeth died in 1999 aged 48 as the result of a medical condition
- Police now say he murdered Mary Jane Malatag and Jeffrey Flores Atup, both 16
- The two cousins were killed as they walked home at night in Fremont in 1982
- Cops used genetic genealogy and DNA testing to show Hudspeth was the killer
- Technique involves cross-referencing the DNA profile of an unidentified suspect with public databases containing DNA from users who’ve submitted samples
- Police then got permission to exhume his body at a cemetery in Santa Clara
- Hudspeth, who had a history of bank robberies, sexual assaults and attempted homicide, lived in the area at the time of the slayings and was named the killer
- The victims’ family said they had ‘lost hope in believing that we would ever have justice in knowing, who did this and as to what had happened to them’
Police say Clifton Hudspeth, pictured, who died aged 48 as the result of a medical condition in 1999, murdered Mary Jane Malatag and Jeffrey Flores Atup
DNA testing on the exhumed body of a dead serial criminal has confirmed he killed two teenage cousins found shot dead on the side of a road in 1982, police say.
Clifton Hudspeth, who died in 1999 aged 48, is said to have murdered Mary Jane Malatag and Jeffrey Flores Atup, both 16, as they walked home in Fremont, California.
The double homicide had remained a cold case for nearly 40 years until genetic genealogy and DNA testing showed he was the main suspect.
Using family trees and after getting permission to exhume his body at a cemetery in Santa Clara, police revealed that Hudspeth, who would have been 31-year-old at the time of the murders, likely committed the crime.
In a statement the family of Mary and Jeffrey said: ‘We are a family that has been grieving for almost 37 years.
‘We are attempting to put our lives back together as we re-mourn the loss of our beloved Jeffery Atup and Mary Jane Malatag.
‘Our family over the years had lost hope in believing that we would ever have justice in knowing, who did this and as to what had happened to them.’
Hudspeth, who had a history of bank robberies, sexual assaults and attempted homicide, lived in the area at the time of the slayings, CBS reports.
His home was a four minute drive from the location of Atup’s body, which was found on the morning of December 20, 1982 near the intersection of Green Valley Road and Scott Creek Road.
Police discovered Malatag’s remains near the intersection of Hunter Lane and Mission Boulevard shortly afterwards. She had also been sexually assaulted.
Atup, right, and Malatag, left, were found shot dead on the side of a road in California in 1982
The two cousins had been walking home after a trip to a 7-Eleven store when they were attacked. Atup worked at a local theater in Milpitas. Malatag had been there with friends before the two made their way home.
The case went cold until 1999 when DNA databases were looked at.
No matches were found then but by 2018 cold case homicide detective Jacob Blass looked again at the murders.
Through DNA and genetic genealogy, which looks at crime scene DNA evidence and compares it to public genealogy databases, police identified Hudspeth as a suspect.
They had used the family tree of the teens’ unknown killer to narrow down their search. It was the same technology used to find the suspected Golden State Killer Joseph DeAngelo.
The family of Mary and Jeffrey added: ‘We will be forever thankful to Detective Blass in never forgetting about these two innocent children.
‘We would also like to thank the Fremont police department as well as the initial detectives who worked on this case.’
The two cousins had been walking home when they were attacked. Atup, left, worked at a local theater in Milpitas. Malatag, right, had been there with friends before the two made their way home. The case went cold until DNA databases were looked at
Once Hudspeth was named as a suspect authorities were approved to exhume his body at a cemetery in Santa Clara.
Testing showed he was the suspect in the murders. Police believe he acted alone. A motive is not yet known.
It is also thought Hudspeth was involved in other crimes at the same time as the killings. He previously spent time in Arkansas and San Diego.
Anyone with information is asked to call Jacob Blass at 510-790-6963 or send an anonymous tip by texting TIP FREMONTPD followed by your message to 888-777.
WHAT IS GENETIC GENEALOGY?
Investigators across the country have increasingly embraced genetic genealogy, a DNA-dependent forensic technique that identifies suspects through their relatives.
The technique involves cross-referencing the DNA profile of an unidentified suspect with public databases containing DNA from users who’ve submitted samples to consumer companies such as 23andMe and Ancestry.com to explore their family tree and get informed about potential genetic health concerns.
Genetic genealogy gained notoriety through decades-old cold cases like the Golden State Killer, and police are now using it on fresh cases as well.
While many are excited by what genetic genealogy means for the future of forensic investigations, others have expressed concerns about genetic privacy and policy procedures.