Genealogy database leads to suspect in Livermore cold case sex assaults from 1997

Bay Area

LIVERMORE (KRON) – A Livermore grandfather was recently arrested at his home and is now facing charges related to two cold case sexual assaults from 1997.

Livermore police were able to track down the suspect through a public genealogy database.

“New technology is out there that finally gives the victim an opportunity to be heard and for justice to be served because he’s literally been hiding in the dark,” Sergeant Steve Goard said.

Two violent sex assaults from 1997: The attack of a 41-year-old woman on Bradford Street in Union City and another of a 22-year-old, as she walked across the Livermore High School campus a few months later.

Police say DNA evidence linked the two as being committed by the same male suspect but didn’t match anyone on the National Criminal Database.

His identity was a mystery, until now.   

That’s because a cold case investigator tried again.

This time submitting the suspect’s DNA profile to the Public Ancestry Database gene by gene that came up with a match.

“It was a distant relative and that led us to kind of go up and rule people out to see, do they have a connection to the Bay Area? That was originally the first and when they found out that he did, we were able to kind of zero in on him,” Sergeant Steve Goard said.

Sergeant Steve Goard says they zeroed in on Livermore resident Gregory Paul Vien and put him under 24-hour surveillance.  

They say another break in the case came after they saw him throw away a plastic spoon like this one after eating ice cream.

“When he dropped it they collected it, uploaded it and it was a match,” Goard said.

He was arrested at his home on Cameo Drive November 5 and is now being held without bail awaiting his next court appearance on Wednesday.  

So far, he has not entered a plea.

Meanwhile, Livermore police say they are investigating the possibility that he could also be responsible for three other similar unsolved sex assaults that happened between 1995 and 1997. 

It’s news that has some of his neighbors feeling…

“Nervous, creeped out, scared. I know my immediate neighbors. This is a really nice, friendly place to live, so I’m very surprised,” Lora Maloof-Miller said.

Other neighbors say Vien seemed to be a good man, a family man.

He lived with his wife and three daughters who are now grown and out of the house. 

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