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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

Law Enforcement Application

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Law Enforcement Application

The value of familial searching may be further supported by survey results from a United States Department of Justice survey that indicated 46% of those held in jails have at least one close relative who has been incarcerated.31 If the matching person who committed the offense is not yet in the databank, their close relative may be in there.

At that point law enforcement can utilize this investigative lead to determine on which close family member to focus their investigation. Law enforcement can then use any number of lawful investigative techniques to identify the suspect family member, obtain a DNA sample, and determine whether there is a match between the reference sample and the crime scene evidence.

The process is not guaranteed to succeed. For starters, it can only succeed if there is a close relative in the database.

31 F.R. Bieber, C.H. Brenner, D. Lazar, Finding Criminals Through DNA of Their Relatives, Science 312 (2006) 1315–1316.

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