Photo: Steve Babuljak

True Detective

by | Jan 7, 2019 | Alumni Profiles, Fall/Winter 2018-19

Paul Holes ’90, a retired cold case investigator, led the DNA matching effort that connected the dots in one of California’s most notorious crime sprees. His use of genealogy data helped track down the suspected Golden State Killer. A alleged culprit, arrested in April, now faces 13 murder counts, including several rapes, and 13 felony counts of kidnapping to commit robbery. Holes started digging into the case in 1994 as a criminalist with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s office. “It seemed like the ultimate challenge,” he said. His possession of the offender’s DNA fueled his conviction that he could solve the crime. “There wasn’t a question as to whether or not there would be trouble identifying the right guy,” Holes said. “We just had to find the right guy.” Over the years, Holes graduated from the police academy, acquired detective skills and fostered a longtime interest in forensic pathology. He investigated countless serial predators, homicides, officer-involved shootings and drug labs. He retired in March from the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office after almost 30 years in law enforcement. His work gave him the opportunity to be interviewed on camera, and he discovered he’s comfortable on screen. He now has a development deal with true-crime cable channel Oxygen Media to investigate and tell crime stories.