Category Archives: Cold Cases

Rape Kit Backlog Issues Affect Local Police Departments

sexual assault kitsSTATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY – An advocacy group for rape victims released a disturbing new report surrounding untested rape kits.
Thousands of these kits are sitting in evidence rooms while victims wait. Wednesday, a Senate committee met to take a closer look at the problem in an effort to end the backlog.
Advocates said the backlog is proof police departments don’t take rape seriously. Police departments said there isn’t enough money to process all the kits and some go untested because the victims choose not to prosecute.

Cold Case: Crime lab receives grant to help solve Cold Cases

touch DNAMERIDEN CT- In September of last year, the Department of Scientific Services, better known as the state crime lab received a National Institute of Justice grant. The two-year $172,000 grant was given specifically to help reduce the back log of Cold Cases.

$3 million goes to task force investigating untested Detroit rape kits

GATCDETROIT, MI – Government and police officials in Wayne County announced Tuesday that $3 million in state funds has been used to expand the Wayne County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force.

FBI Hair Analysis Problems Reveal Limits of Forensic Science

dna_justiceKirk Odom was convicted of a 1981 rape and robbery after a woman identified him as her attacker and an FBI specialist testified that hair on her nightgown was consistent with hair on Odom’s head.
But DNA testing some 30 years later affirmed what Odom long had maintained: The hair wasn’t his; neither was the semen left on a pillowcase and robe. A felony conviction that imprisoned him for decades was overturned in 2012 by a judge who declared it a “grave miscarriage of justice.”

Thousands of untested rape kits discovered in police evidence rooms, hospital

sexual assault kitsATLANTA (CBS46) – Advocates of sexual assault victims said the findings of a CBS46 investigation into untested rape kits are “very upsetting.
“These kits represent victims,” said Jennifer Bivins, president of the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault.

Wisconsin’s DNA database leads to arrest in sexual assault cold case

helix 7RACINE, Wis. (WSAU-Wheeler News) — Second-degree sexual assault charges are filed against a 38-year-old Racine man after D-N-A evidence connected him to a crime committed almost 13 years ago.

Fresh hope for unsolved cold cases is on its way as the DNA profile bank turns 20

HarbisonA smudge of central nervous system tissue on re-convicted double murderer Mark Lundy’s polo shirt has this month highlighted the mighty power of fighting crime with science. Now new advances could solve some of New Zealand’s cold cases and boost chances of catching criminals. Deidre Mussen report as our DNA profile databank turns 20.

Man sentenced to 20 years in Ga. jewelry store burglary

DNA ProfilesMARIETTA, Ga. (AP) — Cobb County prosecutors say a man who was linked to a $1.6 million jewelry store burglary because of DNA found on a plastic spoon has been sentenced to prison.

Virginia forensic scientists achieve 10,000th ‘cold hit’

DNA DatabaseRICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Department of Forensics Science hit an important milestone last month, according the Governor’s office. Scientists achieved the state’s 10,000th DNA database “cold hit.”

New DNA technology helps solve 2 decades-old murder cases

DNA and justiceMARTINEZ, Calif. — In Contra Costa County, Calif., two cold cases dating back more than two decades are now believed solved thanks to new DNA technology.
William Huff would’ve been released from Solano County Jail Tuesday, but now he’s at a Martinez, Calif., facility on murder charges, thanks to a newly formed cold case unit in Contra Costa County.

Berman: The saga of rapist Joseph Blackmer’s DNA

BermanThe victim was a 23-year-old married woman, four months pregnant. On Dec. 17, 1981, a week before Christmas, she answered a knock at the door from a man asking for travel directions. It was to become a classic case of stranger rape — brutal, random and, seemingly, unsolvable.

25-year mystery of Scarborough harbour body solved by cold case review team

helix10In 2011 North Yorkshire police launched a series of cold case reviews of unidentified bodies reported to the force over several decades. One of them was the case of a middle-aged man who drowned in Scarborough harbour on 2 May1989.

Team has its first cold-case arrest

helix9Carla Salazar, a phone operator, lived alone in her Santa Ana apartment, where she was stabbed to death in June 1989.
After the killing, a man named Douglas Gutridge, 37 at the time, contacted detectives upon reading articles in the Register, claiming he wanted to help. Gutridge said he was the last person to see the 35-year-old transgender woman alive, Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas said.

DNA identifies Hamilton man 30 years after disappearance

David NixonTORONTO – DNA has helped identify a man missing for 30 years, Hamilton Police said Thursday.
David Nixon, who was 23 at the time, disappeared July 6, 1984 and was never seen alive again.

The Murder Mystery Solved by DNA From the Back of a Postage Stamp

yara gambirasioWhen, in the autumn of 2012, police went to the home of the widow of a bus driver in a small town in northern Italy, they at long last struck lucky. The widow produced a box of documents that contained her husband’s paper driving licence, to which was affixed a marca da bollo (a postage stamp used for tax purposes). Perhaps – they reasoned – the back of the stamp would contain the dead man’s DNA, if, that is, he had licked the stamp himself before sticking it on to the licence.