Forensic genealogy leads to arrest in 1969 rape, murder of go-go dancer

DNA evidence and forensic genealogy led to the arrest of a 75-year-old Pennsylvania man in the 1969 rape and murder of a go-go dancer who was found dead in her San Diego apartment, police said.

John Sipos was arrested Saturday at his home in Schnecksville for the murder of 24-year-old Mary Scott, who was discovered lifeless after being strangled nearly 51 years ago in her apartment on Nov. 20, 1969, San Diego police announced Tuesday.

Sipos was identified as a suspect by investigators using DNA evidence left at the crime scene and forensic genealogy. Authorities had previously “exhausted all leads” in the case, which went cold in the decades that followed Scott’s murder, police said.

A friend found Scott — a mother of two who worked as a go-go dancer at a club blocks from her apartment — nude on her living room floor, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Scott’s sister, Rosalie Sanz, now 67, said she was told Sipos had been living in San Diego after recently getting out of the Navy.

“This guy got to live 51 years free and easy, and she got those years taken from her,” Sanz told the newspaper.

Scott, who was separated at the time, left her young daughters with her husband’s family prior to her slaying, the newspaper reported.

Sanz told the newspaper she contacted a law enforcement friend to get her sister’s cold-case file another look after reading news reports of how DNA and genealogy can lead to arrests, the newspaper reports.

“It’s good for families not to give up,” Sanz said.

An attorney for Sipos said he had yet to meet the Pennsylvania man due to the jail’s COVID-19 precautions. Sipos has diabetes and has had three heart attacks, attorney John Waldron told the Union-Tribune.

He’s currently awaiting extradition to San Diego while in custody in Pennsylvania, police said.

Forensic genealogy has led to an estimated 150 arrests in cold cases, the Morning Call reported, including the 2018 bust of “Golden State Killer” Joseph DeAngelo, a former police officer who terrorized California in the 1970s and ’80s.

DeAngelo was sentenced in June to 11 consecutive life terms without parole after pleading guilty to 13 counts of murder and raping nearly 50 women.

“We’ve been struggling a long time to see this get solved,” Scott’s daughter, Donna Wyble, told the Morning Call. “I know we still have a long way to go, but this has been such a long time coming. I’m just overwhelmed.”

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