Category Archives: Familial

FBI could hold the key to a notorious Texas cold case. But the info isn’t being released.

AUSTIN — The FBI could hold the key to solving one of the most notorious cold cases in Texas history, but the federal agency won’t release the information because of privacy concerns.
Its stance has frustrated investigators, devastated family members and thrust Austin into the spotlight of a growing national debate over the novel use of what some call family-tree forensics.

Calif. man free after DNA site leads to new arrest in murder

PLACERVILLE, Calif. — California authorities used recently developed DNA techniques to free one man and implicate another for only the second time in the United States, officials said Thursday.
A man who spent about 15 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted in the slaying of his housemate has been exonerated after authorities used extended DNA links developed through publicly available genealogical websites to build a family tree that led to the arrest of a new suspect.

Genealogy helps crack Aurora cold case murder from 1996, police say

Aurora police on Wednesday announced that Wesley Backman, a truck driver who died in 2008 at the age of 53, was identified as the suspect through advancements in DNA testing, genealogical research, a relatively new technique for investigators that uses ancestry databases to identify relatives of suspected killers.

Your DNA Could Catch A Criminal

Genetic databases are solving murders and rapes. Privacy scolds should pipe down.

DNA holds promise in finding fugitive Lester Eubanks but FBI rules, privacy questions loom

The Marshals have been trying to gain approvals to compare his biological son’s DNA against samples of DNA collected from unsolved crime scene evidence around the country in hopes that it will yield a match and offer hints to Eubanks’ new identity or recent location.

Colombia adoptees find family decades after volcano tragedy

BOGOTA, Colombia — Jenifer de la Rosa was just a week old when Colombia’s Nevado del Ruiz volcano exploded, unleashing a wall of mud that buried an entire town and left 25,000 dead.
In the chaotic aftermath of the 1985 disaster the infant was handed over to a Red Cross worker and eventually adopted by a Spanish couple.
Now a documentary filmmaker, she’s been on a quest to answer one question that has haunted her: What happened to her biological family?

Bode Technology Names New Director of Forensic Genealogy

Bode Technology (Bode), a leading provider of forensic DNA services, welcomed their new Director of Forensic Genealogy, Melinde Lutz Byrne, to the organization. Byrne’s team will strengthen efforts in expanding Bode’s Forensic Genealogy Service (FGS) to ultimately provide investigative leads to law enforcement through proven genealogy and DNA analysis methods.

‘Game-Changer’ Warrant Let Detective Search Genetic Database

For police officers around the country, the genetic profiles that 20 million people have uploaded to consumer DNA sites represent a tantalizing resource that could be used to solve cases both new and cold. But for years, the vast majority of the data have been off limits to investigators. The two largest sites, Ancestry.com and 23andMe, have long pledged to keep their users’ genetic information private, and a smaller one, GEDmatch, severely restricted police access to its records this year.

I was writing about colonial America’s first enslaved Africans.

USA TODAY-The search for one woman’s family led a reporter to find her own roots using oral history, archives and DNA tests. It also led to stunning results.

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.

Ancestry customer says he is glad his DNA on GEDmatch led to unknown cousin’s arrest for murder

ORLANDO, Fla. – When John Hogan was researching his family tree, he never imagined that paying for a DNA kit from Ancestry could one day help detectives to solve a cold case. The murder suspect turned out to be a second cousin he had never even met.

I gave my DNA away. Can I get it back?

A growing number of people are willingly handing over their DNA to corporations in return for learning about their ancestry or to get health reports.
Why are we prepared to make this trade with our most intimate of data and what are we getting in return?
And what happens if you want your data back?

Lawyers In A Murder Trial Clash Over A DNA Forensics Methods

ON A LARGE screen inside a packed Snohomish County courtroom, in Washington state, a young Canadian couple smiled out at the dimmed room from the relaxed, faded scene of a party. It was the last known picture taken of Tanya Van Cuylenberg and Jay Cook together before they disappeared in November 1987. Their bodies were discovered days after they went missing, more than 60 miles apart.

Golden State Killer breakthrough garners global acclaim as ‘DNA Hit of the Year’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When DNA made the break in the 45-year-old Golden State Killer case, it set off a national phenomenon to identify suspects in some of the country’s worst unsolved crimes. Now, the case is getting global recognition for the breakthrough and influence it had in the forensic field.

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.