In May of 1986, a woman in Orange County, Florida, was surprised by a man who entered her apartment and raped her at knifepoint. Despite the fact that she got a glimpse of his face, the chances of identifying and convicting her rapist were slim. Although law enforcement officers did their best to identify the perpetrator, their investigative techniques in the case were limited compared to our current set of forensic tools. That changed when Jeffrey Ashton, an assistant attorney for the state of Florida, saw an advertisement for DNA-based paternity testing in a magazine and began to wonder if DNA testing could also be used to identify the man responsible for the attack.
To reflect on this important advance in forensic science, Michael Baird and Jeff Ashton will be presenting The Birth of DNA Testing: A 25-Year Prospective at the 25th International Symposium on Human Identification. For more information, visit ishinews.