Category Archives: Cold Cases

How DNA Solved a 36-Year-Old Mystery, and Created Yet Another

In October 2011, a doctor from the north side of Chicago heard news that authorities were trying to identify the last of the unnamed victims of 1970s serial killer John Wayne Gacy. She immediately thought of her half-brother.

DNA Match Led Cops to Michael Jones, Who Allegedly Killed Girl 30 Years Ago

Jones Wesselman cold caseA man accused of raping and murdering a teenage girl 30 years ago was nabbed after he submitted DNA for a recent domestic violence conviction and it matched genetic material taken from the 1985 crime scene, authorities revealed Monday.

Most investigators unaware of right method to collect samples for forensic testing: Experts

Sheena BoraMUMBAI: Experts say the seamless application of forensics in the Sheena Bora murder case should persuade investigators to utilize the science more often and beyond such high-profile cases. A combined team of forensic science and medicine experts along with the police exhumed 86 bones from Raigad, which DNA profiling has conclusively proved to be of Sheena Bora.

Italy’s Highest Court Explains Decision to Clear Amanda Knox

KnoxROME — Italy’s highest court said Monday that the case against the Seattle resident Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend — whose convictions in the 2007 murder of a British student were definitively overturned in March — was marked by “culpable omissions of investigative activity” and “contradictory evidence” that raised reasonable doubt of their guilt.

The strange case of Ned Kelly’s head

Ned KellyNed Kelly was to lose his head three times, but it was the first time which was to have the greatest effect on him. Despite the exhaustive documentation of the bushranger’s short life, nobody knows where his skull is. That’s not for lack of searching, though, as Dr Craig Cormick writes.

Who is buried in potter’s field?

Potters FieldSAN BERNARDINO – In a tiny cemetery that serves as the final stop for hundreds of once-destitute people, college students are spending another summer trying to solve the mysteries of anonymous death in a hectic world.
The basic goal is simple – to connect names to bodies.

Funding for DNA testing key to cracking cold criminal cases

McGrathKim Murga, Metro’s forensic laboratory director, said untested rape kits go back to 1983, before DNA testing became more common about 15 years ago. Nevada is no different from most of the nation, which is struggling to confront rape kit backlogs and the high costs associated with catching up, she said.
Of the 6,300 kits yet to be tested in Southern Nevada, 5,600 are Metro cases, she said. A DNA test costs about $1,000 — plus the costs of manpower and necessary travel, Roberts said.

Attorney Joel Porter says DNA analysis shows he didn’t kill his wife 30 years ago

DNA Lab…A report from the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory issued on April 29, 2014, which Joel Porter obtained from the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office in March, states that the ankle portion of Denise Porter’s gray sweatpants contains her DNA and that of an unknown person. The report ruled out Joel Porter as being connected to the DNA while also finding it isn’t linked to anyone in a nationwide criminal database…

Cold Case Unit’s end didn’t stop Iowa DCI from continuing search for DNA profiles

helix9In its three years in operation, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s Cold Case Unit brought to close two unsolved homicide cases dating as far back as the 1970s.
The unit was shut down in 2011 after the federal grant that funded it ran out. But DCI officials said they continue to investigate homicides cases that have gone years, or even decades, without justice.

Police await DNA, other forensics in D.C. quadruple homicide

Mansion Fire SlayingsWASHINGTON — More than two months after members of a D.C. family and their housekeeper were killed in their burning Northwest home, police are still waiting on crucial evidence.

Tens of thousands of rape kits go untested across USA

helix10USA Today- After 18 years without justice, Joanie Scheske believed the man who raped her would never be caught.
That changed when St. Louis police called in 2009. Evidence in a separate, eight-year old sexual assault was finally tested and matched her attacker’s DNA.
Rapist Mark Frisella, whose attack was so brutal Scheske still suffers from epilepsy, is serving 19 years in prison.
“I had a really difficult time wrapping my head around why that rape kit was never tested,” Scheske said. “My case is a poster child as to why you test these kits.”

Court Ruling Opens DNA Technology Advances to Old Cases

GavelDNAPeople convicted of crimes through inconclusive or outdated DNA testing procedures should be allowed new tests using the latest technological advances without regard to a three-year time limit set by law, a federal appeals court ruled.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the first in the nation to rule that the advances in DNA technology mean previously useless samples should be considered newly discovered evidence that is not subject to statutory time limitations.

DNA analysis helps ID homicide victim 4 decades later

Helix4CLARK COUNTY, Wash. – DNA analysis and years of persistence has led to the identification of human remains found nearly 41 years ago.
Who killed Martha Marie Morrison is still a mystery. Her remains, as well as the remains of Carol Platt Valenzuela, were found in October 1974 in the Dove Valley area of Clark County, according to Clark County Public Information and Outreach.

New unit specializes in cold case investigations

helix 7Dr. Guy Vallaro and a team of scientists at the CT State Forensic Science Lab are hoping to reinvigorate cold case investigations with a new unit that focuses on re-examining DNA, firearms, fingerprints and computer evidence to generate new leads.

Forensic scientist explains how Virginia’s DNA data bank works

Forensic-scientist-explains-how-Va-s-DNA-data-bank-worksROANOKE, Va. – There is a 7.2 billion chance of someone other than Jesse Matthew being the source of DNA collected after a 2005 rape in Fairfax, according to a forensic scientist who testified in the trial.