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DNA on gum, water bottle leads to DJ's arrest 26 years after teacher killed
Story date June 26, 2018

DNA recovered from a DJ's gum and water bottle has led to his arrest in connection with the killing of a Pennsylvania teacher 26 years ago, according to prosecutors.

Raymond Rowe, who uses the DJ name "DJ Freez," has been charged with criminal homicide for allegedly killing Christy Mirack at her East Lampeter Township home, according to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office.

The case dates back to Dec. 21, 1992, when Mirack, 25, didn't arrive at school, prosecutors said.

A co-worker came to Mirack's home and found her dead. She had been beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted, prosecutors said.

A weapon used in the attack -- a wooden cutting board -- was near Mirack’s body, prosecutors said.

Her death was ruled a homicide by strangulation, prosecutors said.

Years passed, but DNA left at the scene was sent to a lab, which created "a DNA phenotype 'composite' of the killer’s attributes," including hair color, eye color and skin tone, according to a Monday statement from prosecutors.

statement from prosecutors.
"The phenotype report included visual composites of what the killer would look like at various ages,” prosecutors said. “That data and associated composites were released to the public in November 2017.”
The lab uploaded the file to a public genetic genealogy database, "which resulted in matches to relatives of Raymond Rowe," according to prosecutors.

Investigators last month took DNA from gum and a water bottle Rowe had used while DJing at an elementary school, prosecutors said. The DNA was submitted to a state police crime lab, which determined it matched DNA found on multiple parts of Mirack's body, as well as the carpet underneath her body, prosecutors said.

Rowe, 49, was arrested at his home Monday afternoon, prosecutors said. He was arraigned Monday night and committed to the Lancaster County Prison without bail, district attorney's office spokesman Brett Hambright said. Rowe has not entered a plea.

Mirack's family called the arrest a "bittersweet day," according to Hambright. 

The district attorney Monday declined to discuss a potential motive.
"We know that this defendant raped and brutally murdered Christy Mirack," Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said in Monday's statement. “It is a huge step toward providing long-overdue closure for Christy’s family and friends who have spent decades wondering who brutally murdered their loved one.
"We really cannot give enough credit to Parabon NanoLabs for the work they did which proved absolutely crucial to filing this charge,” Stedman said of the Reston, Virginia-based company. “Without their work and expertise, quite frankly, we would not be standing here today with the alleged killer of Christy Mirack charged and in custody."
DNA on napkin led to arrest in cold-case 1986 rape and murder of 12-year-old girl

DNA on napkin leads to arrest in cold case

DNA technology has helped detectives make an arrest decades after a 1986 rape and murder of a 12-year-old Washington state girl, bringing closure to a "horrific crime [that] shook our community," the police chief said.
Gary Hartman will be arraigned Monday following his June 20 arrest on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree rape in the 1986 cold case killing of Michella Welch, authorities said.
Tacoma Police Chief Donald Ramsdell called the case a "great example" of "advancements in DNA identification and computer modeling combined with tried and true police techniques." 

The case dates back to March 26, 1986, when Welch - then a sixth-grader - and her two young sisters went to Puget Park in Tacoma, said Ramsdell, who was living in Tacoma and working as a rookie police officer at the time.
At about 11 a.m, Welch went home to get lunch for her and her sisters, Ramsdell said at a news conference Friday.
Around 12:30 p.m, her sisters left the park to use a restroom at a nearby business, and returned at 1 p.m. and continued to play, Ramsdell said.
Welch never returned, but at 2 p.m. the sisters noticed her bike and lunch at the park, Ramsdell said.

A search dog found Welch's body just before 11 p.m. that night, Ramsdell said. The 12-year-old had been sexually assaulted and killed from blunt force trauma to the head, officials said. 

Unknown DNA was recovered and a number of men were investigated based on witness statements, Ramsdell said.

But years passed and the case turned cold.

In 2006, a DNA profile was developed from the original crime scene, but there was no match in databases, according to a statement from the prosecutor's office.
Twelve years later, Tacoma Police detectives worked with genetic genealogists who used DNA technology to track the unknown suspect's family members, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a recent statement. Investigators then incorporated traditional genealogy to make a family tree from information on public websites, according to the statement.
That allowed police to identify two brothers -- who lived in the area in 1986 -- as possible suspects, Ramsdell said.

On June 4, Tacoma detectives began monitoring Hartman, according to Lindquist's press release.
On June 5 Hartman went to his job at Western State Hospital and then to a nearby restaurant for breakfast with a co-worker, the statement said.
A detective took a discarded paper napkin that Hartman had used at the restaurant from an employee and submitted it to the state crime lab for testing. The lab then found a match between the DNA on the napkin and the DNA from 1986, the statement said.
On June 20, Hartman, 66 - who was not one of the men investigated in 1986 based on witness accounts - was arrested during a traffic stop, Ramsdell said.

Michella's mother is "ecstatic" after learning about the arrest, police said, and she reportedly told a detective that the news "sent chills down her spine."
Michella’s younger sister, Nicole Eby, who was nine at the time of her sister's death, described her sister as like "a second mom to me," in a Friday interview with ABC affiliate KOMO.
"He cut such a precious life short," Eby said.
Hartman is set to be arraigned Monday afternoon.


The suspected killer of April Tinsley has been caught.

After 30 years, police say they’ve captured a child-killer who left a sickening trail of taunts:

From email I received

"Forensic DNA has always been Y-DNA and mtDNA, not autosomal DNA. Autosomal DNA did not come into use for genealogy until 2010. Furthermore, traditional forensic DNA is in STR format, not SNP format."

So the DNA profile we have in CODIS can NOT be used in the genealogy labs. I think the new tests on Ramsey evidence may well have located new DNA that could be submitted to the labs for autosomal profiles.
(09-20-2018, 10:05 AM)jameson245 Wrote: [ -> ]From email I received

"Forensic DNA has always been Y-DNA and mtDNA, not autosomal DNA.  Autosomal DNA did not come into use for genealogy until 2010. Furthermore, traditional forensic DNA is in STR format, not SNP format."

So the DNA profile we have in CODIS can NOT be used in the genealogy labs.  I think the new tests on Ramsey evidence may well have located new DNA that could be submitted to the labs for autosomal profiles.

Hi Jams,

According to:


The standard FBI CODIS database loci include loci on autosomal DNA as you can see by comparing the graphic in the link above with the graphic showing autosomal DNA (1 through 22) versus sex chromosomes (small box) here:


Now it may be that whoever sent you this is referring to the loci used for genealogical studies, and these may not the same as the loci used for CODIS, or some other such difference as that, but in any case this email requires clarification and/or correction.  As worded above it's just plain wrong because "autosomal DNA" has been used forensically for many years now.


PS: Here is a nice DOJ page entitled  "Using DNA to Solve Cold Cases" that discusses all the different types of testing and how the results  are used forensically:

Soit looks like there are THREE DNA tests - the CODIS which checks 13 loci alleles, the autosomal which is used in genealogy and the phenotype which comes up with a computer generated image of the person. Is that right?

So I have the profile for GSLDPD99178617 which is the DNA they have in the Ramsey case that is in CODIS. It is a full profile and has been used to clear dozens of people, including the Ramseys.
But it can't be used for either the autosomal or phenotype tests. They need new samples to run different tests on. That sound right to you?
13 loci examined for CODIS, and each loci has a number of alleles possible. Autosonal tests 29 loci. That right?

It looks to me like there are 27 different alleles at loci D3S1358 and they are between 8 and 20

Allele (Repeat #)
99 bp
97 bp

variant allele
102 bp
100 bp

variant allele
103 bp
101 bp

variant allele
107 bp
105 bp

variant allele
111 bp
109 bp

variant allele
115 bp
113 bp

SGM Plus
119 bp
117 bp
123 bp
121 bp
126 bp
124 bp

variant allele
127 bp
125 bp
127 bp
125 bp
128 bp
126 bp

variant allele
129 bp
127 bp

variant allele
130 bp
128 bp

variant allele
131 bp
129 bp
131 bp
129 bp
133 bp
131 bp

135 bp
133 bp
135 bp
133 bp
136 bp
134 bp

variant allele
137 bp
135 bp

variant allele
139 bp
137 bp
140 bp
138 bp

variant allele
141 bp
139 bp

variant allele
142 bp
140 bp

variant allele
143 bp
141 bp
Reading the last link - this was interesting

In spite of the attacker’s attempt to avoid identification through DNA evidence by wearing both a condom and rubber gloves, a reliable DNA profile was developed from the evidence. During the struggle, the attacker was forced to use one hand to hold the victim down, leaving only one hand to pull the phone cord tight. The attacker had to grab the remaining end of the cord with his mouth, thereby depositing his saliva on the cord. Although the developed profile came from saliva rather than skin, DNA not only solved the case in Austin, but also linked the perpetrator to a similar sexual assault in Waco.
A “forensic hit” occurred in the National DNA Index System (NDIS) that linked a dead Florida man’s DNA profile to eight serial unsolved rapes in Washington, D.C. and three offenses in Florida.
In 1999, Leon Dundas was killed in a drug deal. Investigators remembered Dundas refusing to give a blood sample in connection with a rape investigation in 1998. They were able to obtain Dundas’ blood sample through the medical examiner’s office and forwarded it to the DNA lab at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Dundas’ DNA profile was compared with the national forensic index and a match was made between Dundas and DNA evidence from a rape victim in Washington, D.C.
The FBI then entered DNA evidence from additional unsolved rapes committed in Washington. Dundas’ DNA matched seven additional rapes in Washington and three more in Jacksonville, Florida. Police in Washington said that without DNA, they would have never identified Dundas, who had no prior recorded history of violent crime.

There are more than three types of DNA tests.  As I'm sure you've read by now, the traditional types of analysis used forensically in 2002 were RFLP (the "grandaddy"), PCR, STR, mtDNA, and y-chromosome analysis.  Now we have the autosomal genealogical tests.

It appears to me that the various genealogical companies each use their own testing procedures which are probably closely guarded proprietary procedures.  Some companies do use mtDNA and/or y-chromosome analysis along with autosomal DNA comparisons.  It's hard to say whether or not CODIS loci overlap with autosomal loci used for a particular company.  Where did you find your list of autosomal loci?

I tried to see if I could find out how the profile was developed for the Golden State Killer, but the few articles I read did not disclose how that was done.  My guess is the same as yours: Such cases probably need more material to create new profiles.  PCR can help with that as long as everyone is careful.   With the profiling that they've done already on the JonBenet Ramsey case, it's possible that they could identify some groups of relatives.  These groups may be really large, though.

Because young victims are usually killed by someone they know (75% or so), it's most likely that JonBenet was killed by someone that has already been overlooked, someone who is regarded as "normal" or "average" that was never tested.  Someone "normal" and "average" like Dennis Rader aka BTK.  I would like to see more aggressive DNA testing of people whom the family knew in addition to genealogical testing.

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