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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

Examples of Familial Searching Leads

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Examples of Familial Searching Leads

investigator with bloody glove on
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

Although familial DNA searches and partial matches involve different practices, the leads they develop advance criminal investigations in the same way. For example, in Los Angeles a lead developed from a familial search led to the identification of the "Grim Sleeper," a serial killer who had terrorized the area for over 25 years, committing at least 11 murders.9

Similarly, in North Carolina, Darryl Hunt served 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Thanks to the analysis of available biological evidence, it was revealed that the DNA was a "partial match" to a profile from a man already incarcerated, Anthony Brown. With some investigatory police work, it was determined that Anthony Brown's older brother, Willard, committed the crime. Willard Brown was convicted, and Mr. Hunt received his freedom.10

9 Office of the Attorney General, Press Release: California's Familial DNA Search Program Identifies Suspected "Grim Sleeper" Serial Killer » (July 07, 2010)
10 60 Minutes: A Not So Perfect Match » (July 15, 2007)

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