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Solved Cold Cases - General discussion about how they were solved

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Kimster, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    36194679-case-closed-orange-vintage-seal-isolated-on-white.jpg
    This area is for discussion about cold cases that were solved where we don't already have an individual case thread.



     
    spike and SheWhoMustNotBeNamed like this.
  2. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    ny-1542744579-lj03c2v8qj-snap-image.jpg


    Investigators in Massachusetts say they have solved the 1969 murder of a popular Harvard graduate student, pinning the slaying on a career criminal who has been linked to multiple other sexual assaults and homicides in the years after his death.

    The family of Jane Britton, who was just 23, finally has anwers nearly 50 years after her body was found in her Cambridge apartment by her boyfriend.

    Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said Tuesday that DNA testing has identified Michael Sumpter as the assailant who sexually assaulted and murdered Britton in January of 1969. She credited "multiple teams" of investigators for the breakthrough in the case.

    "As a direct result of their perseverance and utilization of the latest advances in forensic technology by the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab today I am confident that the mystery of who killed Jane Britton has finally been solved and this case is officially closed," she said.


    Ryan recounted the final hours of Britton's life during a press conference on Tuesday. Jane went to dinner with classmates on Jan. 6, 1969, and then stopped at home to change before going ice skating with her boyfriend. After going to a pub with her boyfriend and spending time with him in her apartment, she visited a neighbor for a glass of sherry before returning home about 12:30 a.m.

    [​IMG]
    Investigators say Michael Sumpter raped and murdered Jane Britton. (Middlesex County District Attorney's Office)
    Investigators believe Sumpter broke through a window and attacked Britton. Her body was found the next day at about 12:40 p.m. by her boyfriend after she failed to show up for an exam at school.

    After failing to make a breakthrough in the case for decades, authorities made progress this year with the help of DNA technology, and were able to obtain a sample from Sumpter's biological brother.

    DNA evidence has also linked Sumpter to the 1972 rape and murder of 23-year-old Ellen Rutchick, and the 1973 rape and murder of 24-year-old Mary Lee McClain.

    Sumpter died of cancer at the age of 54 in 2001. He was on parole after serving time for a rape that took place in Boston in 1975. He was linked to another rape one year after his death.

    Boyd Britton, a relative of Jane's, said in a statement that "learning to understand and forgive remains a challenge."

    "A half century of mystery and speculation has clouded the brutal crime that shattered Jane's promising young life and our family," he said. "As the surviving Britton, I wish to thank all those — friends, public officials and press — who persevered in keeping this investigation active, most especially State police Sergeant Peter Sennott."

    https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/ny-news-jane-britton-murder-case-20181120-story.html

    This is an interesting case that @Cousin Dupree showed me. The DNA was so old! Isn't it amazing that they were able to match it? Has anyone ever heard of Sumpter before? I hadn't.
     
    spike, Blue G 3, Whatsnext and 2 others like this.
  3. Blue G 3

    Blue G 3 Well-Known Member

    I remember reading about this, I think its amazing! Hopefully through advances in DNA technology, many more cold cases will be solved.
     
    Paradise likes this.
  4. Blue G 3

    Blue G 3 Well-Known Member

    Indiana police say 47-year-old murder of college student Pamela Milam solved
    [​IMG]


    Authorities in Indiana said Monday that the 1972 murder of a college student has been solved, marking the latest example of a cold case cleared through DNA testing and genealogy.

    Terre Haute Police Chief Shawn Keen identified Jeffrey Lynn Hand as the possible killer of Pamela Milam, 19.

    Hand was killed in a shootout with police in 1978 during an attempted kidnapping, Keen said in a news release.

    "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."

    "We were happy to know he hasn't been out there living a great life for 47 years," she added.
    Milam was last seen on the night of Sept. 15, 1972, leaving a sorority event at Indiana State University in Terra Haute, southwest of Indianapolis, Keen said. Her body was found bound and gagged in the trunk of her car the next night.

    "We had no witnesses, no description of a suspect," Keen told reporters.

    Authorities believed a man who was arrested seven weeks later for a series of sexual assaults on campus had also killed Milam. But they were never able to link the man, Robert Wayne Austin, to Milam's murder, Keen said.

    After taking over the case in 2008, Keen said he cleared Austin using DNA evidence obtained from the crime scene.

    Last year, Keen began working with Parabon NanoLabs, a Virginia-based company that works with law enforcement using DNA, ancestry databases and traditional genealogical work, to try and solve Milam's murder.

    Working with Parabon, Keen eventually narrowed down possible suspects to a single member of one family—Jeffery Hand. After tracking down Hand's widow and two sons, Keen obtained their DNA and submitted it to Indiana's state crime lab.

    The results came back with a 99.9 percent probability that the DNA he'd obtained matched the crime scene DNA, Keen said.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime...-milam-solved/ar-AAAZ8fg?li=BBnbfcL&ocid=iehp
     
  5. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

    After nearly 47 years, police say they have identified the killer of an Indiana State University student.

    Pam Milam was 19 when her body was found in the trunk of her car on campus back in 1972. She was tied up and strangled.

    [​IMG]
    Pamela Milam's car. (Terre Haute Police Department)
    Clothesline was used to bind her hands and another piece was around her neck. A gag in her mouth was held in place with tape.

    In the car, more of the clothesline was used to bind her along with the tape was found.

    [​IMG]
    Evidence found in Pamela Milam's car. (Terre Haute Police Department)
    All of the items had been used at a rush party that Milam had been at earlier and were in a box of decorations she had been carrying to her car.

    Police were left with no witnesses and no description of the suspect.

    About seven weeks after the murder, Robert Wayne Austin was arrested for a series of attempted and successful abductions on campus. Police say he sexually assaulted the students and then later returned them to the campus.

    Austin was convicted on the other abductions, but police were unable to link him to Milam's murder.

    In 2001, the Indiana State Police lab did another analysis of a stain on the blouse of Milam recovered after the murder. Austin's DNA did not match the stain on the blouse.

    [​IMG]
    Pamela Milam's blouse with evidence on it. (Terre Haute Police Department)
    No other DNA matches were found. In 2001, police were able to identify a fingerprint on Milam's glasses found in her car. It did not match Austin either.

    In 2008, Terre Haute Police Chief Shawn Keen reviewed the case himself. The ropes used in the murder helped establish a partial DNA profile. That helped establish it was one male suspect involved.

    [​IMG]
    Ropes found in Pamela Milam's car. (Terre Haute Police Department)
    In 2009, familial DNA testing was requested, but it was never approved.

    In 2017, the Indiana State Police lab used advanced DNA testing to indicate the suspect had brown hair, brown eyes and medium complexion.

    A composite of what the person might look like was then developed.

    In 2018, a DNA sample was used to try and match DNA submitted to genealogy companies. It came back with a potential family that the DNA might have come from.

    Working through that family tree, two potential suspects were identified.

    [​IMG]
    Jeffrey Lynn Hand (Terre Haute Police Department)
    Jeffrey Lynn Hand was then identified through more DNA testing. He had already been convicted of picking up a couple who was hitchhiking and killing the husband in 1973. The woman had managed to free herself and run to a neighbor who called police. Hand was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

    In 1978, he was spotted in Kokomo trying to abduct a woman. An officer witnessed it and went after him. Hand shot that officer and was then shot and killed by another officer.

    "I never thought we would get to this day," said Charleen Sanford, Pamela's older sister. She then thanked Terre Haute Police Chief Shawn Keen for never giving up on the case.

    "Pamela was taken from us by one of the cruelest methods possible," said Sanford. "The pain of losing a child, a beloved sister, a friend never goes away."

    Sanford said they were happy to learn Hand was dead and not still out there living his life or hurting others.

    "We will continue to miss Pam," Sanford said.
    https://www.wthr.com/article/police-identify-killer-47-year-old-cold-case-murder-isu-student
     
  6. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

    Sometimes it’s forensic evidence and sometimes it’s merely re-examining clues, but cold cases do occasionally get solved. A witness or suspect may decide to talk, or people might be more forthcoming about details after time has passed. The good thing is that families can reach better closure about what has happened, even though this can mean re-living many painful details at a trial or hearing. Convictions can result, and prison sentences be given, and, as in the case of three cold cases included on this list, inmates already in prison can receive much longer sentences. Take a look at our list of 10 solved cold cases below. You’ll see how forensics techniques help to bring closure to many cases, but also how, occasionally, other things propel a case toward resolution.
    1. 1. Cold Case Murder of Krystal Beslanowitch, 1995 : Solved through forensic technologies.
      A determined cop who was the original investigator into the murder of Krystal Beslanowitch 18 years ago in Utah helped bring resolution to this case. As The Huffington Post reports, Sheriff Todd Bonner just couldn’t let the case go. Beslanowitch was 17 years old when she died from a crushing blow to the skull. A prostitute, her body was found in 1995 along the Provo River. Leads at the time only led to dead-ends, but investigators finally got somewhere in 2013, when new forensic technologies, taking a full day, were used to extract touch DNA from the granite rock that crushed her skull. In fact, a tool called a forensic vacuum allowed for the DNA extraction. The DNA matched to a Joseph Michael Simpson, who had been a resort bus driver in the area at the time. Simpson, now 46, was arrested in Florida in September of this year.

    2. 2. The Disappearance of Sherri Miller and Pam Jackson, 1971 : Solved by a fisherman.
      An alert fisherman may have helped solve this cold case, which has been unresolved since 1971. In that year, Sherri Miller and Pam Jackson, both 17, disappeared while driving on rural roads to a party at a gravel pit in a 1960 Studebaker Lark. In September of 2013, a fisherman near the state’s Brule Creek noticed a car submerged upside down in the water. NPR reports that the vehicle was removed from the creek the following day, and skeletal remains, thought to be of the two girls, were found inside. Indeed, as NPR reports, the creek was less than half a mile from the gravel pit that the girls were headed to and the license plate and a hubcap from the vehicle, although badly decomposed, matched the vehicle the girls were driving. Even though it looks like this 42-year-old cold case may be solved, it might never be known what happened to lead to the Studebaker ending up in the creek.

    3. 3. Death of Pamela Shelley, 2001 : Solved through a guilty plea.
      Pamela Shelley died en route to a hospital in 2001 after she was found with a gunshot wound to the head in the Texas home that she shared with her boyfriend. Not long before, she had split up with her husband, and moved with her two children from Arkansas to Texas into the home of Ronnie Joe Hendrick, an old family friend. Investigators initially ruled her death a suicide, but the case was re-opened seven years later at the insistence of investigator Carl Bowen, who had been on patrol and responded to the initial incident, according to the Victoria Advocate. Bowen never felt quite right about the suicide ruling, and enough evidence was eventually gathered to indict Hendrick in October 2012 with a trial set for September 2013. A few days prior to the trial, a showing of “Cold Justice” featuring Shelley’s case showed it was not possible for her to shoot herself in the head from the angle done. A mistrial occurred, but Hendrick, instead, plead guilty to a charge of murder. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison. The outcome helps prove true what Shelley’s brother, Donald Curlee, had always suspected: “There was never a doubt in my mind that she didn’t do it,” he told the Victoria Advocate.

    4. 4. Murder of Ranya Rison, 1993 : Solved by new testimony.
      It had not been quite clear what happened to Rayna Rison when, at age 16, she disappeared in 1993, to be found dead a month later in an Indiana pond by a fisherman. The case was ruled a homicide and in 1993 aired on “America’s Most Wanted.” It remained unsolved until just this year when an arrest was made involving her former boyfriend, Jason Tibbs, now 38. In August, prosecutors charged Tibbs with allegedly strangling her to death following an argument about the two of them getting back together, reports the NW Times. It was not forensic evidence, but the July 2013 testimony of a former friend, Eric Freeman, who said he saw Tibbs strangle Rison and then assisted him in disposing of her body in the pond. The defense has questioned the credibility of Freeman’s statement, given that prosecutors offered him immunity. It’s not clear what the outcome of the criminal proceedings against Tibbs will be, but at least Rison’s family now has some idea of what might have happened when she disappeared that evening after work in 1993.

    5. 5. Murder of Sara Lynn Wineski, 2005 : Solved through DNA evidence.
      Sadly enough, when the death of a homeless or transient person occurs, not as much attention might be given to solving the crime. This was not the case with transient Sara Lynn Wineski, who was found strangled and raped outside a then-Ronald McDonald House in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2005. Screams were heard about 11 p.m. on May 21, 2005, reported 10-News, but it was not until the following afternoon that her body was found under a deck behind the house. DNA evidence was collected at the scene, but progress had never been made until this year when it was linked to Raymond Samuels, aged 31 as of this writing (November, 2013). He has been in prison since 2006 in Ohio for attempted murder and kidnapping and will be extradited to Florida. Investigators indicate that Samuels, also a transient, was in the area at the time of Wineski’s death. According to investigators, it was DNA that was imperative to solving this crime, and, as a result, Samuels now faces first-degree murder charges.

    6. 6. The murders of three prostitutes, 1990 : Solved through DNA evidence.
      Detectives brought up three first-degree murder charges against Donna Perry, 61, at the end of October 2013 for allegedly killing three prostitutes in 1990 in Spokane, Wash., with a .22-caliber handgun. At of time of the murders, it was thought that the deaths of all three women, Yolanda Sapp, 26, Nickie Lowe, 34, and Kathleen Brisbois, 38, were related, but the connection didn’t become clear until this year, reports The Spokesman-Review. Perry, who was actually Douglas Perry prior to a 1990 sex change, was arrested in 2012 on federal charges of possession of illegal firearms. The investigation into the deaths of the three women had been re-opened in 2005 with DNA evidence submitted in 2009 and sent through a federal database, which eventually matched to Perry. Other evidence, like women’s panties that looked old were found in Perry’s closet. She has been moved from prison in Texas to Spokane to face charges.

    7. 7. The murder of Maria Ridulph, 1957 : Solved through a deathbed confession of a mother.
      Fifty-five years after 7-year-old Maria Ridulph was taken from the streets of Sycamore, Ill., to be found choked and stabbed to death, a 72-year-old security guard, Jack McCullough, was arrested for the crime. However, it wasn’t forensic evidence that led police to re-investigate McCullough as a potential suspect, but the deathbed confession of his mother in 1994 who said she lied about his alibi, according to The Huffington Post. In 2008, McCullough’s half-sister passed on this information to the police. McCullough had been one of about 100 potential suspects, but seemed to have a rock-solid alibi at the time of the murder. His mother had backed up his whereabouts. However, with her admission about her alibi, police reinvestigated McCullough, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for the crime.
     
  7. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

    Cont’d
    1. 8. The murder of Patricia Beard, 1981 : Solved through DNA evidence.
      The strangulation death of Patricia Beard in her studio apartment back in 1981 in Denver became the 100th rape or murder to be solved by Denver Cold Case Team in July 2013 of this year. Beard, 32, at the time was mentally disabled and had not been heard from by family or friends in several days. She was eventually found partially clothed and dead on her bed, according to The Denver Post. DNA evidence from a post-mortem crime scene kitwas found in 2011 and was entered into a database, but it was not until this year that a match was found. That match resulted in charges brought against Hector Bencomo-Hinojos, 53, a Pennsylvania man. He denied ever knowing Beard, but DNA evidence indicates he had had sexual contact with Beard within the hours following her death. His wife painted him as a violent man. Bencomo-Hinojos now faces charges of first-degree murder.

    2. 9. The murder of Anna Palmer, 1998 :Solved through DNA evidence.
      It was DNA evidence that led to a conviction in the 1998 murder case of 10-year-old Anna Palmer who was attacked and killed outside of her own front door in Salt Lake City, according to KSL.com. The crime was heinous, and included multiple stab wounds to her body, but following the crime, investigators had no witnesses, little evidence, and no apparent suspects, the news station reports. However, in 2009, forensic analysts were called in to assist in the case, and they decided to examine the girl’s fingernails for DNA samples. Using visible and alternative light sources to look for DNA not belonging to the girl, they made a hit, and matched it to a man named Matthew Brock, who had lived a block away at the time of the her murder and was age 19 then. Brock was already in prison serving a 10-year sentence for a sex-related crime with a child, and he pled guilty in 2011 to an aggravated murder charge in the death of Anna Palmer and is now in prison for life.

    3. 10. The Shooting Death of Roy McCaleb, 1985 : Solved through a confession.
      It was a confession that led to a resolution in the cold case murder of Roy McCaleb, 51, who died in 1985 in Houston from a gunshot wound. His former wife, Carolyn Sue Krizan-Wilson, then 42 but now 71, admitted she had shot him herself and that his death was not at the hands of a gunman who had raped her and then shot him while fleeing the home as she once claimed. In fact, she was initially indicted for his murder in 2008, but a judge dismissed the charges. A court of appeals reinstated the murder charge, and this time she decided to plea, according to the Houston Chronicle. She had only been married to McCaleb, who was her seventh husband, for two years at the time of his death. McCaleb’s daughter said that she thinks Krizan-Wilson might have killed her father to try and take advantage of a life insurance policy. However, that policy was never paid out because of suspicions about McCaleb’s death. In exchange for a guilty plea in 2013, Krizan-Wilson, who suffers from dementia, was given six months in jail and 10 years probation.
    Forensic science is continually evolving, and sometimes fresh evidence helps to crack old cases. The relatively recent introduction of DNA evidence, innovations in cloth fiber identification, or new rounds of interrogation, for example, often help to create breaks in old mysteries. While we do our utmost to keep abreast of changing developments in these fascinating cases, we invite you to send any updates or to recommend additional cold cases to consider to our “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the page. Thank you in advance for helping to keep others informed.
    1. 11. The Shooting Death of Taxi Driver Ralph Smith, 1971 : Solved through a confession.
    In December of 2014, a judge in Wake County sentenced Sinatra Dunn to 12 years in prison for first-degree murder. WRAL reports that Dunn had been arrested and charged with second-degree murder of Raleigh taxi driver Ralph Smith 43 years ago. Although Dunn plead guilty in 1971, there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him at the time and he was released. A fresh break came in the case when he confessed to a detective who had re-opened the investigation. Dunn’s sister, Jessie Jackson, contends that he has become a changed man in all of those years, turning away from drug addiction, addressing his struggles with mental illness, and accepting Christ. The granddaughter of the victim, Monica Taylor, said she commended Dunn’s moral turnaround, his confession, and his subsequent acceptance of the punishment.
    https://www.forensicscolleges.com/blog/resources/10-cold-cases-solved
     
  8. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

    Police have cracked a cold case with DNA found on the razor of the man they say raped and killed two women more than four decades ago in California.
    upload_2019-6-8_8-42-26.jpeg

    DNA from a razor used by Arthur Rudy Martinez matches that left by the attacker at both crime scenes in the late 1970s, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office said.
    Martinez died of cancer in June 2014 at a prison in Spokane Washington, where he was serving life for robberies and two other unrelated rapes.
    The two victims did not know each other



    [​IMG]
    The cases of Jane Morton Antunez and Patricia Dwyer date to 1977 and 1978, respectively.
    In November 1977, Antunez was found dead in the backseat of her car in Atascadero, California.

    The 30-year-old woman had been sexually assaulted and her throat slit. She was on her way to her best friend's house, but never made it, the Sheriff's Office said.
    Months later, in January 1978, Patricia Dwyer was found stabbed to death and sexually assaulted in her home.
    Like Antunez, the 28-year-old also lived in Atascadero. While the two victims had mutual friends, they did not know each other, authorities said.
    "Both victims' arms were bound behind their backs by different bindings that were found at each scene," the Sheriff's Office said.
    DNA link came from another arrested relative
    Biological evidence was recovered from the scene in the 1970s, but DNA technology was not used in criminal cases at the time, authorities said.
    For years, both cases remained unresolved. Then this year, a lead from the Department of Justice's Familiar DNA Search team helped crack the case. It obtained a familial DNA comparison from a relative of the suspect whose DNA was in the system as a result of a prior arrest, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said.
    "Essentially identifies the suspect in this case. ... It really is in simple terms ... it strongly resembles existing DNA profiles in relatives who have many of the same markers in common," he said.
    When investigators made the connection, authorities reached out to the suspect's girlfriend, who still had items belonging to him. An item from her was tested and the DNA matched that of Martinez, he said.
    "This lead was generated by getting a DNA profile comparison and other evidence. The DNA profile was a close match to an inmate serving time for unrelated charges," the Sheriff's Office said.
    CNN affiliate KSFN reported that DNA collected at the scenes was compared to that taken from an old razor belonging to Martinez. Police linked him to the murders.
    "Most likely this case would never have been solved if the initial investigators did not collect the valuable biological DNA evidence that was used to compare to Martinez's DNA," the Sheriff's Office said.
    The suspect was in prison for assault
    Martinez was in Atascadero until 1978 — shortly after Dwyer's murder, authorities said.
    He moved to Spokane and later that year was sentenced to life in prison after committing numerous robberies and two other additional rapes, authorities said.
    In 1994, he escaped from prison and was on the run until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2014, the statement said. He then turned himself in so he could receive treatment and died in prison two months later.
    With Martinez dead, many questions remain, including whether he knew these victims prior to their murder.
    "Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and are hopeful the resolution to these cases brings them some closure," said Sheriff Parkinson. "With the advancements in DNA technology and having an investigative focus solely on these types of cases, this case proves the value of having this important position."
    https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/19/us/cold-case-dna-razor/index.html
     
  9. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

  10. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

    Over the past year DNA submitted to ancestry websites have helped police in the United States identify the killers in several unsolved crimes, including the Golden State Killer case – a longtime subject of internet sleuthing.

    The practice has raised some concerns about police access to the genetic profiles of millions of Americans, with some privacy advocates demanding that courts prohibit this investigative tactic.

    But those offered the chance to participate actively in the drama of criminal justice often find privacy to be of little concern, my research shows. People love a good cold case

    California police used the genealogy website GEDmatch to check DNA from dozens of murders and rapes committed by the Golden State Killer from 1976 to 1986, leading to the arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo in April 2018.

    DNA submissions to GEDmatch – a public source of user-submitted DNA profiles created to help genealogy hobbyists investigate their family trees – have steadily increased since, according to founder Curtis Rogers.

    About a thousand new profiles are uploaded to GEDmatch every day, Rogers says. The site contains over 1.2 million user-submitted DNA kits.

    All users who opt in to its public portal are alerted that their DNA information may be searched by law enforcement agencies investigating a crime or seeking to identify a deceased person.

    In Rogers' experience, that possibility excites, rather than concerns, many customers. He routinely receives emails from people who want to post their DNA profile to GEDmatch "so they can assist in catching criminals, including those who might be family members, so that any unsolved cases can be solved, and families involved can get closure."

    CeCe Moore – perhaps the best known scientist in the burgeoning field of genetic genealogy – sees similar sentiments on the popular Facebook page where she posts updates on recently solved cases.

    "They want to be part of solving this," she told me, "They are web sleuths – and perhaps their DNA could be key to cracking a case."

    Moore works with Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company that builds the family tree of DNA found at a crime scene to help police identify suspects.

    "People ask us all the time, how can I get my DNA to a place where you guys can solve cases?" Parabon CEO Steve Armentrout told me.

    The ethics of public DNA
    Home DNA kits are only the latest technology to dramatically increase public participation in monitoring, preventing and even solving crimes.

    Websites like NextDoor have taken the neighborhood watch concept – when neighbors work together to prevent crime – online. The app Citizen alerts civilians about 911 calls to crimes underway in their vicinity and allows them to upload video of the incident. And over 700,000 people frequent the cold case discussions on Reddit, an online message board.

    Amateur sleuths may jump at the chance of their DNA helping to catch a killer, but there are good reasons to pause and take stock of the ethical concerns raised by this practice.

    By the end of 2018, 26 million people had taken an at-home ancestry test with 23andMe, Ancestry.com or similar sites, the MIT Technology Review found.

    But you're not just uploading your own DNA when you put it on one of these sites. You're uploading the DNA of relatives, both close and distant.

    That exposes many millions of people who have never taken a DNA test to possible police identification, raising tricky due process questions.

    As more people are swept into genetic databases without their explicit consent, more sensitive personal information will effectively become public. Some day, these genetic profiles could be used by employers or insurance companies to assess the health of individuals, leading to discrimination and stigmatization.

    'I want him caught'
    Making one's DNA available to law enforcement agencies can also create problems of a more intimate nature: Namely, if a suspect is caught because of your DNA, that person is technically part of your biological family. You may become responsible for putting your own relative in jail.

    The genetic genealogist Cece Moore finds that doesn't deter people.

    "They want murderers and rapists and serial killers off the street," she says of the people who talk to her about contributing their DNA to GEDMatch or similar sites. "These people are willing to make sacrifices for that to happen."

    The logic she often hears, Moore says, is: "If my second cousin is a serial killer, I want him caught. I want people to pay for these crimes even if its someone I am close to or I love."

    Research confirms these observations. A study published in the academic journal PLOS Biology in October 2018 found that 79% of 1,578 survey respondents – some of whom had themselves done a home DNA test with 23andMe or other genetic testing site – support police searches of websites like GEDmatch.

    Respondents were most supportive of investigations for violent crimes, crimes against children, or missing persons, leading the authors to observe that "perceived invasions of privacy appear to be tolerable when the purpose is to catch violent or particularly depraved offenders."

    The continued success of genetic genealogy in solving cold cases will likely reinforce this public support.

    Parabon recently announced that its services have solved over "1,000 years of cold cases in nine months." This information, provided by the company, cannot be independently verified.

    Meanwhile, popular television shows like 20/20 and Dr. Phil have begun to explore genetic genealogy, inspiring an even wider audience to see their own DNA as the potential missing link in an unsolved crime.

    With this public support, and barring strict regulation that limits the use of DNA databases to solve crimes, consumer genealogy sites will likely play an ever greater law enforcement role.
    Privacy concerns don't stop people from putting their DNA on the internet to help solve crimes
     

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