DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Advancements in technology and DNA evidence helped Dallas police finally catch suspected serial rapist, David Thomas Hawkins.

Detectives said they believe Hawkins is responsible for four unsolved sexual assaults in the 1980s.

The 74-year-old convicted sex offender faces charges for sexual assaults on the four victims in Northeast Dallas apartments around The Village between 1982 and 1985.

“These victims have been wanting justice and deserving justice for decades and the fact that the technology has brought us to this is just absolutely amazing,” said Dallas Co. District Attorney John Creuzot.

David Thomas Hawkins (credit: Dallas County Jail)

Creuzot said it’s the first time genetic forensic genealogy was used to capture someone. The same method recently helped authorities in California find and arrest the serial murderer rapist known as the Golden State killer.

“It’s quite a breakthrough and we’ll get these cases processed and get them moving into the court system,” said Cheryl Hester, whose company — AdvanceDNA — helps authorities use DNA evidence to find links on genealogical internet databases with blood relatives who have given permission for their results to be public.

“Once we upload this data,” said Hester, “we get back what we call cousin matches these are relatives that match the DNA and they match it at all different levels.

The Texarkana- based company recently helped make an arrest in the 40 year old unsolved murder of an 8-year-old Ohio girl, too.

“A lot of these cases would not be solved without genetic genealogy,” said Hester. 

Details about how Dallas Police tracked down Hawkins may not be revealed until his trial. But he now faces spending the rest of his life in prison after living for decades in a home south of Fort Worth.