The March 2008 attack near the Santa Cruz Harbor in a low-crime neighborhood unnerved the community and spawned an intense police hunt.
"It is the kind of attack that communities most fear — a stranger attacking somebody who truly is just an innocent victim going about their lives," said Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark.
Police dogs, fliers containing a composite sketch of the suspect and a search of the DNA offender database failed to net a suspect — until the state earlier this year traced the suspect through the DNA of his father, a felon whose genetic profile was stored in the database.
Although such genetic sleuthing, known as familial searching, remains controversial — California is one of only three states that permit the technique — Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris has increased the budget...