Category Archives: Cold Cases

Man pleads guilty to 2016 Alexandria rape solved using forensic genealogy

Bjerke was one of the first offenders identified in Virginia using forensic genealogy, an increasingly common technique for solving cold cases where police have little evidence beyond DNA. Bjerke had no criminal history, and so his DNA was in no law enforcement database. But sperm left at the crime scene matched with relatives of Bjerke who had uploaded their genetic information to public genealogy databases.

The DNA of Murder with Paul Holes

With unprecedented access to crime scene photographs, case files and evidence, Holes investigates each crime utilizing his unique forensic and behavioral skillset. Hoping to zero in on the profile of the perpetrator, he lends his expertise in the latest technological advancements from familial and genetic genealogy to latent fingerprint and DNA phenotyping, the process of predicting physical appearance from DNA.

The Amelia Earhart Mystery Stays Down in the Deep

Robert Ballard’s expedition to a remote island in the South Pacific found no evidence of the vanished aviator’s plane. But the explorer and his crew haven’t given up.

Private DNA database leads to arrest in decades-old Delaware rape

A DNA database used for genealogy purposes has helped Newark Police identify a suspect in a 26-year-old rape case. Police Lt. Andrew Rubin said it is the first such use of an ancestry-type website by the department.

Playing Catch a Killer With a Room Full of Sleuths

At a forensic conference in California, law enforcement officials grappled with how to avoid destroying one of the field’s biggest innovations in decades.

Despite DNA evidence, statute of limitations prevents prosecution of Ohio rape cases

Our exclusive three-month 5 On Your Side Investigation reveals how Ohio fails sexual assault victims. We uncovered dozens of cases that will never be prosecuted, despite compelling DNA evidence, because of Ohio’s current statute of limitations.

Arrest made in death of Federal Way teen nearly 30 years after her body was found

NA found on two cigarette butts was the evidence King County sheriff’s detectives said they needed to make an arrest in the homicide of Sarah Yarborough, a 16-year-old drill-team member who was found strangled on the campus of Federal Way High School nearly three decades ago.

Sexual Assault Kit Task Force to use genealogical searches to track down ‘John Doe’ rapists

The Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force will pilot a project that uses a federal grant to do genealogical database searches to identify ‘John Doe’ rapists they have indicted based on DNA profiles found in rape kits.

Thousands of backlogged rape kits have been tested, with many yielding results, FDLE says

About 8,000 previously untested rape kits have been processed since late 2014 — resulting in nearly 2,000 DNA matches — as part of an effort to clear a backlog prompted by a lack of funding, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Friday.
The completed tests were part of a three-year project that followed an assessment in 2016 which found more than 10,000 rape kits had gone untested, leaving victims in the dark about their cases.

‘Korean Zodiac Killer’ who inspired Bong Joon-ho film might be caught

The police were finally able to link Lee Chun-jae, 56, to three of the unsolved murders, using DNA evidence found on a victim’s underwear, The Guardian reported.

‘A serial killer off the streets’: Florida man charged in woman’s death linked to slayings of three others

A man linked to the deaths of at least four women dating back more than a decade has been arrested in Florida, authorities announced Monday.

Tuam survivors ‘pleased’ they can offer their DNA samples can be taken

Groups representing survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home have cautiously welcomed a new report which said that their DNA can be taken without the need for new legislation.
The report, prepared by Dr Geoffrey Shannon following a call from the Tuam Home Survivors’ Network in February, found that while the current legislative framework may not suitable for the collection of such samples, it could be done by way of a voluntary administrative scheme and without the need for new legislation.

A girl was found dead at the beach after a bike ride in 1972. DNA helped police identify a suspect

(CNN)An 11-year-old girl went on a bike ride on Thanksgiving Day in 1972. The next day her body was found dumped on a rocky beach near the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. She’d been raped and strangled.
Police conducted more than 2,000 interviews and followed numerous leads but could not identify a suspect in the death of Terri Lynn Hollis until this year. On Wednesday, Torrance police announced a suspect — now dead — has been identified through a match made on a national DNA database.

Head of Public Security Department signs contract for ‘safe kits’ analysis

Use translation tool in Chrome or web browser. The Secretary of the Department of Public Security (DSP), Elmer Román González , signed on Friday in the state of Virginia the contract with Bode Cellmark Forensics , Inc, which will be the laboratory that will analyze the safe kits pending evaluation in the Bureau of Forensic Sciences .
“With the signing of this contract, we will finally have answers for hundreds of people and families who have waited for years to be certain about a painful personal tragedy. Likewise, we will have the possibility of prosecuting those responsible for the commission of these sexual crimes. This is fundamental in the process, not only of doing justice in terms of law and order, but also of giving peace and allowing closing personal and emotional chapters, ”explained the secretary of the DSP in written communication.

Under the Microscope – Lisa Mertz

Within the past 15-20 years, successful technological advances in forensic science have solved many cold cases. The increase in the number of possible items that might presently be tested as evidence in criminal matters, in general, has led to the need for collaborative efforts among the New York City DNA Laboratory, the New York City Police Department, and the New York City District Attorney’s Offices.