Category Archives: Cold Cases

Boise geneticist helps Knox in Italian conviction appeal. DNA shows she isn’t guilty

The world was captivated by the Italian trial that convicted Seattle college student Amanda Knox in the sensational 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
Knox’s appeal is now under way, and critical evidence used to convict her actually shows she’s innocent, says Boise State professor Greg Hampikian, a forensic DNA expert who volunteered to help the Knox defense.

The First Murder Case To Use Family Tree Forensics Goes To Trial

To crack a 32-year-old murder case, police used genetic genealogy, which involves searching family tree sites and the DNA that people add to them. Now its legality is getting scrutiny in the courtroom.

Police release timeline of “significant events” in Dennis Day investigation

PHOENIX, Ore. – UPDATE: 6/7/19 : On Friday, Oregon State Police released a timeline of what it calls “significant events” in the Dennis Day investigation. The former Disney Mouseketeer and actor disappeared without a trace last summer.

After obtaining DNA from estranged husband of missing New Canaan mother Jennifer Farber Dulos, authorities searching Farmington properties connected to him

The search follows a series of new developments in the case over the last 48 hours.
State police, sources said, have obtained DNA samples from Fotis Dulos. Sources also told the Courant that police have obtained surveillance video of Dulos in a Hartford neighborhood where police conducted an extensive search for evidence Friday, sifting through trash cans and scouring dumpsters for several hours.

Arrest in 43-year-old murder case stuns Wisconsin town

Word of the arrest — via a friend’s text message — hit Wayne Sankey like a thunderbolt.
“I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me,'” Sankey recalled. “And then I told the wife and she couldn’t believe it. ‘There’s no way,’ she said. ‘Ray down the road?'”

Duluth Police: All backlog sexual assault kits tested, investigations ongoing

DULUTH, MN– Around this time last year, the Duluth Police Department was in over their heads.
Duluth was being called the worst city in the state when it came to efficiently testing sexual assault kits with hundreds of kits, some dating back to 1993.
Now, more than a year later, the department has submitted all of its kits and we’re learning the results of the testing.

Sex assault charge dismissed in cold case as attorneys wrangle over DNA evidence

MARINETTE – The first-degree sexual assault charge filed against a northern Oconto County man accused of a double homicide nearly 43 years ago was dismissed Monday at hearing where defense attorneys signaled an intent to aggressively fight DNA evidence in the case.
Marinette County District Attorney DeShea Morrow did not dispute a defense motion to dismiss the charge against Raymond L. Vannieuwenhoven, which noted the statute of limitations had expired after six years.

Woman accused in death of newborn granted pretrial release

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A South Dakota woman charged with murder in the death of her newborn who was abandoned in a ditch 38 years ago has been released from jail.
Theresa Bentaas, 57, has been in the Minnehaha County Jail since her arrest March 8. Investigators said they used advances in DNA evidence and genealogy sites to determine she was the mother of the infant, called Baby Andrew, whose body was found wrapped in a blanket in a cornfield ditch in Sioux Falls in February 1981.

Could solved cold case unravel Harmeier homicide?

Might the solving of a 46-year-old homicide in Vigo County lead police to the answer of who killed an Indiana University student 42 years ago?

Sebastopol grandmother among world’s best at cracking cold cases through forensic genealogy

The press conference to announce the solving of a 37-year-old cold case murder took place Tuesday at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Reno, Nevada.
The optics were arresting: Standing amid imposing law enforcement officials were a pair of unassuming elderly women — “two little old ladies,” wisecracked one of them, Colleen Fitzpatrick. The other was white-haired, wire-rimmed, 72-year-old Margaret Press who made the four-hour drive from her home in Sebastopol the day before.

Court battle to test evidence for DNA in 35-year-old Missouri murder case

HOLDEN, MO (KCTV) — Patty Prewitt is serving a life sentence for the murder of her husband, Bill Prewitt.
She swears she’s innocent and has since the morning her husband was shot. Her legal team is hoping old evidence will provide new information and prove Patty has been telling the truth all along.
A court battle is currently underway for DNA testing on items collected at the murder scene. DNA testing wasn’t a possibility back in 1984 so that never took place.

New DNA evidence solves 1982 cold case killing at Lake Tahoe

At a news conference in Reno on Tuesday, sheriff’s detectives, forensic scientists, and genealogists described a remarkable series of challenges they faced in piecing together evidence and tracing the extended family trees of hundreds of individuals based on DNA run through an online genealogy databased called GEDMatch.

Indiana police say 47-year-old murder of college student Pamela Milam solved

“It’s been a long 46 years, seven months and 20 days,” Milam’s sister, Charlene Sanford, said during a news conference Monday. “Many of us, as we got older, thought we would die before we ever learned who killed our sister.”

5 years after rape kit backlog controversy, Salt Lake police celebrate ‘huge strides’

SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly five years have gone by since the state of Utah and Salt Lake City made headlines for a backlog of hundreds of untested rape kits.
Now, after laws were passed at the state and city level to address the backlog, Salt Lake police are celebrating a cultural shift in how sexual assault reports are treated — and that their work has resulted in the identification of more than 100 suspects from the backlog.

DNA tests, dogged detectives credited with solving 1988 case

“The people who have been working this thing are unbelievable,” Joe Ryan said. “They have gone all out, and all out for a long time. And they don’t give up.”
The cold case squad in Greenville has made arrests in three old cases in the past year. The first two were cracked with DNA results from family genealogy sites.