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Success Stories

Delaware County cold case homicide from 1983 solved with help of DNA database

Detectives used Parabon Nanolabs, a DNA/genealogical database April 29, 2020 DELAWARE COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) – Detectives with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office say they've solved a homicide from 1983. On October 16, 1983 the body of 15-year-old John Anthony Muncy was found by a deputy along the side of the road in northern Delaware County. Investi...

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SI 'bishop' arrested for 1980 cold-case murder of Brooklyn teen Lorraine Snell

Chief of the District Attorney's Forensic Science and Cold Case unit, worked closely with the NYPD to utilize enhanced DNA technology. March 12, 2020 STATEN ISLAND — The mother of a Flatbush murder victim who was just 19 when she was strangled in 1980 sobbed tears of relief Thursday when PIX11 showed her photographic evidence that the long-time per...

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Fairfax County detectives solve ’72 cold case murder of Karen Lee Spencer

The suspect, James "Jimmy" Edwards died in 1997. April 5, 2020 FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (WDVM) — Police say they have solved the murder of a 12-year-old Virginia girl, who was last seen alive in 1972. The Cold Case Squad at the Fairfax County Police Department believes Karen Lee Spencer's alleged boyfriend at the time killed her in the Huntington area o...

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Lost ashes in vacant Bradenton lot were a mystery. Sheriff’s employee solved it

Sheriff Rick Wells did the honor in presenting the award to Kaczmarek. March 26, 2020 Manatee When Renee Kaczmarek left her position at the Manatee County jail two years ago to serve as a property and evidence processor for the sheriff's office, she didn't realize the surprises her new job would throw her way. After all, what could one possibly see...

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Charleston Police to temporarily restrict release of property held in evidence

The only items to be released will be those items deemed in need of urgent release March 22, 2020 CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston Police Department Evidence Office will temporarily restrict the release of property during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The only items to be released will be those items deemed in need of urgent release, poli...

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Former Vandalia PD employee charged with misconduct and theft

She's also accused of theft for allegedly taking contraband being held as evidence from the locker that was valued over $500. March 6, 2020 FAYETTE COUNTY, IL — A former Vandalia Police Department employee has been charged in Fayette County Court with official misconduct and theft. According to court records, 29-year old Cheyenne Haxton is free on ...

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Ohio single mom's 1991 cold case murder solved using DNA uploaded to public genealogy site

"He's a ghost in the investigation,"​ March 13, 2020 A single mother's cold case murder in Ohio has been solved with an arrest after nearly 29 years. Rachael Johnson was 23 when she was raped, beaten, stabbed and set on fire on March 30, 1991. Her daughter was three at the time. On Thursday, Akron police charged Daniel Rees, 57, with the murder. Po...

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GBI arrests former LaFayette City Court clerk accused of stealing money from police

Enter Headline here March 11, 2020 LAFAYETTE, Ga. — State agents have arrested a woman accused of taking money from the police department during her time as LaFayette City Court clerk. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says on Tuesday, March 10, Jan Bridges was arrested for theft of fiduciary - theft over $500. Back in October 2019, LaFayette Pol...

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DNA helps solve 20-year cold case in Indianapolis

March 10, 2020 INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An arrest has been made in a 20-year-old murder case in Indianapolis. William Swain is charged in the October 2000 murder of 39-year-old Arthur McPhaul. Swain faces felony charges of murder, criminal deviate conduct resulting in a serious bodily injury and criminal confinement. In October of 2000, police were ca...

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Pensacola Police HQ temporarily locked down after officers possibly exposed to fentanyl

Pensacola Police Headquarters is currently on lockdown March 10, 2020 PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) – Pensacola Public Information Officer Mike Wood said three officers were working in an evidence room when one officer became lightheaded. He said the officers may have been exposed to fentanyl. All three officers were taken to the hospital, and the lobby o...

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Rape kits sit in labs, untested as required

As of August 2019, over 1,500 kits were still in the possession of State Police Enter Article DATE HERE ALBANY — Hundreds of rape kits are sitting untested in New York State Police crime laboratories as standards are being skirted, a situation that's left law enforcement officials also questioning whether the labs can keep up with new pre-tria...

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Rocky Ford police officer accused of taking marijuana from evidence to sell

The investigation is still ongoing, CBI says. We're working on getting more details. February 27, 2020 ROCKY FORD, Colo. (KRDO) -- A police officer in Rocky Ford is facing a felony charge after an investigation by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation found that he may have stolen marijuana that was seized during an active police investigation and t...

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Former deputy pleads guilty to evidence theft, trafficking charges

Charges that included 16 counts of breaking and entering and one count of trafficking opium or heroin February 18,  A former Haywood County Sheriff's Deputy charged in 2018 with several felonies related to the theft of evidence, including narcotics, will be spending at least the next seven years behind bars. Kevin Smathers pleaded guilty to al...

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Upgrading Santa Fe police evidence room could cost a half-million dollars, plus new staff

The new positions will bring the number of evidence room employees to seven, which will allow the department to staff the room seven days a week, rather than only Monday through Friday. February 17, 2020 Equipment to revamp the Santa Fe Police Department's outdated evidence room is expected to cost about $467,000, and another $400,000 is needed to ...

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1991 Asbury Park Homicide Cold Case Solved After 28 Years

DNA profiles from the victim's body, stockings, slip, and dress were retained and tested Enter Article DATE HERE FREEHOLD– A 1991 Asbury Park murder has been solved after new DNA evidence testing provided a crucial break in the case, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. On the morning of March 27, 1991, the Asbury P...

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DNA ties 24-year-old cold case murder to suspect named in ‘Serial’ podcast

Committed suicide while serving time in Louisiana on an unrelated charge in 2008 February 15, 2020 North Myrtle Beach police have solved a 24-year-old murder using DNA evidence, naming a man tapped as a possible suspect in the 1999 death of Hae Min Lee by the podcast "Serial," according to WPDE. Ronald Lee Moore, who had also been named in a series...

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Salisbury Police employee accused of stealing from evidence facility

Enter Headline here February 15, 2020 SALISBURY, Md. – The Salisbury Police Department and the Wicomico County State's Attorney released details on Friday about an investigation into a police department employee, accused of stealing items from the department's evidence facility. The Salisbury Police Department (SPD) recently began an audit of its p...

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Untested rape kit backlog has returned: GBI

The backlog of overall evidence that needs to be tested is over 44,000 February 15, 2020 ATLANTA — State officials say a backlog of hundreds of untested rape kits is accumulating at the GBI crime lab once again – and proposed budget cuts could make it worse. The situation spotlights a half-billion dollars in budget cuts proposed by Gov. Brian Kemp ...

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Minnesota deputy accused of stealing on job convicted of misconduct, resigns

motion-activated surveillance camera in a bedroom caught officer stuffing a phone charger into his pocket while executing a search warran February 7, 2020 ST. PAUL -- A sergeant with the Ramsey County sheriff's office was convicted of misconduct of a public officer this week and subsequently resigned from his post in law enforcement, his defense at...

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State police deny allegations in whistleblower lawsuit

The troopers contend evidence was stolen by a KSP sergeant for "personal gain and to benefit his family members." February 1, 2020 The Kentucky State Police deny any wrongdoing in response to a civil lawsuit filed by three current and former Kentucky State Police Post 4 employees, who claim other employees stole evidence and they faced retaliation ...

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UPDATED: Cold-case arrest made in baby’s 2007 death, four other infant homicides

"In my 40 years in law enforcement, I cannot think of a case more disturbing than this one January 26, 2020 WOODLAND — In a case they described as "chilling," "heartbreaking" and "senseless," authorities announced Monday the arrest of a man suspected of murdering his own five infant children, including a baby boy discovered in rural Yolo County slo...

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New Law Still Leaves Thousands of Rape Kits Untested

According to the Office of the Attorney General, there are over 6,000 untested sexual assault evidence kits in Maryland. January 20, 2020 A law requiring law enforcement agencies to submit qualified rape kits for testing within 30 days of receipt will become effective in January 2020, but it does not address the thousands of untested kits currently...

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Man arrested for 19-year-old cold case murder

"After all these years, my dad will finally be able to rest in peace and our family will be able to rest a little better at night knowing that the person who did this is finally getting what he deserves, January 14, 2020 OMAHA, Neb. (FOX 42 KPTM) — The family of a man who was murdered 19 years ago is now getting justice. Metro Area Fugitive Task Fo...

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Trump signs bill to help eliminate backlog in rape kit testing

More than 100,000 rape kits remain untested. January 1, 2020 President Donald Trump has signed into law legislation that provides funding to help states eliminate backlogs in rape kit testing. The measure, signed Monday, will help deal with the more than 100,000 rape kits across the country that remain untested. Advocates say that, without proper f...

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Forensic Felons: Criminals in the Oregon Crime Labs

Larsen pled guilty to tampering with evidence and theft of Schedule II type drugs through direct access to evidence in lockers while working out of Bend and Pendleton Oregon December 27, 2019 Nika Elise Larsen, a forensic scientist and crime scene investigator for Oregon State Police Crime Lab, faced a federal court on Aug. 15, 2016. Larsen pled gu...

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Greenville (NC) police lose evidence in 1975 Looper murders amid review of the case

Greenville Police Department has been unable to find the evidence after searching investigator work stations, case files, and storage areas. December 5, 2019 A recently discovered letter that could implicate a former Greenville County sheriff and members of his team in the 1975 murder of a deputy and his father is missing. Greenville police found t...

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Wrongful conviction: 3 Baltimore men freed after spending 36 years in prison for teen's murder

Lawyers involved in the case said they were "horrified" to see the amount of exculpatory evidence that was hidden from the defense team and jury. November 26, 2019 Three Baltimore men who spent 36 years in prison were released Monday after authorities say they were falsely convicted of a 1983 murder. Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewa...

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Former Harrison County deputy found guilty of distributing heroin to confidential informants

Trial evidence established that Rock acquired the FLIGHT 18 heroin from the evidence lockers at the now-defunct SCAD Unit Enter Article DATE HERE CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – A former Harrison County Sheriff's Deputy who in August was found guilty on 18 state charges related to falsifying documents has now been found guilty on federal drug charges for ...

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South African prosecutor dies after gun accidentally discharges in courtroom, report says

"It is alleged the weapon was brought to court to be entered as evidence in a house robbery case when it accidentally discharged in court." November 20, 2019 A South African prosecutor reportedly has died this week after a gun brought inside a courtroom as part of the evidence in a home robbery case accidentally discharged – striking her in the hip...

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Deputy fired for having sex in Rutherford County Sheriff's Office evidence room

The deputy who lost her job and the on-duty patrol deputy had sex in the evidence room two or three times this year, November 17, 2019 A deputy lost her job recently after Rutherford County Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh discovered she had sex in an evidence room. The deputy, who had the rank of corporal, "engaged in sexual intercourse while on duty in her ...

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St. Louis County Prosecutor's Office: 100 cases under review

no one told Bell's staff after he defeated seven-term incumbent Bob McCulloch last year there were cases in which the work of the crime lab employee, who was fired in 2017, could be called into question November 11, 2019 CLAYTON, Mo. -- A pattern of improper analysis in the St. Louis County Police Department's crime lab by a forensic scientist has ...

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U.S. grand jury indicts ex-deputy in theft of FBI's $30,400

FBI agents found some of the missing $30,400 in Pillow's pants pocket and the rest of it in a safe he had hidden inside a cooler i Enter Article DATE HERE A federal grand jury in Little Rock has handed up an indictment charging a former Greene County sheriff's lieutenant with the theft of $30,400 in government funds. Allen Scott Pillow, 55, of...

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New California Law Says Rape Kits Have to Be Tested Within 120 Days

"There is absolutely no reason why a rape kit should ever sit untested for months or years when statistics tell us that testing rape kits helps to ensure justice by identifying perpetrators" October 9, 2019 Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law requiring law enforcement to test newly collected rape kits promptly in California. Bill SB 22, author...

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2 Chicago officers charged with stealing drugs, cash

If convicted, the Elizondo and Salgado face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years for the embezzlement charge and five years for the conspiracy charge. October 8, 2019 CHICAGO — Two Chicago police officers have been charged with lying to judges to obtain search warrants and then stealing cash and drugs from the properties they searched, federal pro...

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Thousands of rape kits logged, tracked one year after N.C. starts tracking system

More than 2,000 new kits and 8,000 old kits were entered into the system, according to the North Carolina Department of Justice. Enter Article DATE HERE RALEIGH, N.C. (WMBF) - More than 10,000 sexual assault kits were logged into North Carolina's online tracking system in the first year. Last October, the state introduced the statewide system ...

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New federal rules will limit police searches of DNA ancestry databases

As genetic genealogy websites become more popular and individuals continue to voluntarily submit their DNA or enter their genetic profiles onto publically available genetic genealogy sites, the more biological information there is to compare with DNA samples from crime scenes. September 24, 2019 The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this week releas...

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DNA cold case: Louisiana woman charged in 25-year-old murder of 'Baby Jane Doe'

​The newborn, dubbed 'Baby Jane Doe' by investigators, was found Jan. 24, 1994, in a 55-gallon drum behind Bob's Car Wash in Jeanerette, September 26, 2019 A Louisiana woman has been charged with murder after DNA evidence linked her to a newborn girl left to freeze to death in a trash can 25 years ago, authorities said. Sonia Charles, 50, of New Ib...

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Charges filed against Columbus police detective accused of dereliction of duty

The investigation found Detective Amy Welsh mishandled evidence in a 2012 sexual assault case and a 2018 kidnapping case, according to Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. September 18m, 2019 A Columbus Division of Police detective has been charged after an internal investigation found she failed to properly investigate sexual assault and kidnapping ...

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How Genealogy Tests are Being Used to Crack Cold Cases

DNA collected from a crime scene can be analyzed and sequenced into data, which is then uploaded to an open-access genetic genealogy database like to run a comparison. September 1, 2019 Thanks to the use of a new investigative technique called "ge...

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KCPD says evidence warehouse fire is unsolved, cause unknown. Best guess: a cellphone

"It appeared that the fire was caused by an unknown standalone heat source, possibly a malfunctioning cellphone or other lithium type battery or possibly a chemical reaction," a detective wrote. September 17, 2019 More than a year after fire ravaged a Kansas City Police Department evidence warehouse, destroying an unknown amount of material from sh...

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Authorities announce 1981 Jefferson Co. cold case murder solved through genetic genealogy testing

Man who died in 2012 ID'd as suspect in teen's rape, murder September 10, 2019 Photo by: Courtesy Jefferson County Sheriff Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader announced that Donald Steven Perea, who died in May 2012 at age 54, was responsible for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of 18-year-old Jeannie Moore in August 1981. JEFFERSON COUN...

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Fetus stored in freezer for 6 years

"Nobody wants to hold that type of evidence," Sheriff Mike Waguespack said. "A proper burial needs to be done. Enter Article DATE HERE LABADIEVILLE - The WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered disturbing details about a 16-week-old fetus that has been jammed in a freezer for the past six years in Assumption Parish. Tonight, the newly elected First ...

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Man arrested in Philippines after DNA ties him to Alaska sexual assault

Carmen Daniel Perzechino Jr., 57, is being extradited to Alaska after his DNA matched an unsolved sexual assault that happened near Sterling in January 2001 April 6, 2019 The Alaska State Troopers, with the help of the U.S. Marshals Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, have arrested a man in the Philippines after a DNA link to a sexual as...

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Do-it-yourself rape evidence kit will hurt effort to prosecute rapists, AG warns

Attorneys general issue warnings September 6, 2019 A do-it-yourself evidence kit for rape survivors being marketed by a New York company won't actually help prosecutors convict rapists, North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein warned Wednesday. Creators of the MeToo Kit say the evidence collection process is so simple, anyone can do it. Following...

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How Genealogy Tests are Being Used to Crack Cold Cases

September 1, 2019 Thanks to the use of a new investigative technique called "genetic genealogy," investigators have seen tremendous success in cracking decades-old cold cases. Breakthroughs using this technique have come from a blend of DNA analysis and archival research to provide investigators with their first real leads in years. Previously, for...

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Grand jury indicts 60-year-old man in 1988 cold case murder of woman

DNA evidence from Jacobs' clothing that could finally be processed using modern technology,  August 30, 2019 JEFFERSON COUNTY — DEVELOPING: The Jefferson County grand jury has indicted Daniel Andrew MacGinnis, 60, for the 1988 murder of Patricia Ann Jacobs. Her body was discovered in October, 1988 in the Neches River beneath the Rainbow Bridge...

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Retired TPD officer sentenced for firearm stolen from evidence room

Curtis Stone was sentenced to 4 years probation and 400 hours of community service. Chief Kral called the sentence 'surprisingly lenient.' Enter Article DATE HERE TOLEDO, Ohio — Retired Toledo Police Officer Curtis Stone was sentenced Monday on charges related to a firearm that was stolen from the TPD evidence room. Stone, 56, who retired in 2...

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County firefighters respond to first recorded fentanyl exposure at Los Altos police station

Los Altos police issued a news alert confirming that three officers were exposed to fentanyl while processing evidence. August 12, 2019 A Los Altos police officer was in stable condition Monday (Aug. 12) at a local hospital after being exposed to the narcotic fentanyl earlier in the day, according to press releases from the Santa Clara County Fire ...

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Former OST evidence tech admits stealing $30K from safe she was supposed to protect

Yellow Boy was hired as an evidence technician in July 2018 and had access to the evidence room that stored items such as guns, drugs and cash, August 2, 2019 A former evidence technician with the Oglala Sioux Tribe Department of Public Safety stole $30,661 in seized cash from the safe she was supposed to protect and used most of the money at a cas...

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She Was Found Strangled in a Well, and Now She Has a Name

She was finally identified through her DNA and genealogy by a nonprofit, the DNA Doe Project, Enter Article DATE HERE For 38 years, the case of the "Belle in the Well" haunted Bill Nenni, an investigator for the Lawrence County, Ohio, coroner's office. He had barely started his job when she was found in 1981—strangled and hidden inside a water...

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