Image - Barbara Rae-Venter and book cover
Past Event

Barbara Rae-Venter: Unmasking the Golden State Killer and Solving Other Cold Cases

For 12 years, the Golden State Killer terrorized California, and then mysteriously seemed to disappear. Forty-three years after his crime spree began, Barbara Rae-Venter received an unexpected call from a cold-case investigator taking one last shot at the case before he retired. Intrigued by the challenge, it took Rae-Venter just 63 days to crack the case and identify the serial rapist and murderer.

In her new book I Know Who You Are, Rae-Venter reveals how she went from a retiree researching her family history to hunting for this notorious serial killer. Through her relentless curiosity, she became one of the nation’s leading authorities on investigative genetic genealogy, the most dazzling new crime-fighting weapon to appear in decades.

Hear how she approaches trying to solve cold cases and explains how her methods have changed the course of criminal investigations forever.


This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Bernard Osher Foundation

Photo by Asa Mathat.

February 15, 2023

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Taube Family Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Barbara Rae-Venter

Barbara Rae-Venter

Founder and President, Firebird Forensics Group; Author, I Know Who You Are: How an Amateur DNA Sleuth Unmasked the Golden State Killer and Changed Crime Fighting Forever

Image - Kevin Fagan

Kevin Fagan

Staff Writer, San Francisco Chronicle; Author, The Lost and the Found: A Tale of Homelessness, Tragedy, and Redemption (forthcoming)