aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

When is a cold case too cold?

Science may help solve crimes that have been unsolved for decades.

Take the case of the killer clown, John Wayne Gacy. [Full disclosure: the only book I have ever literally thrown away, straight into the trash, was one about John Wayne Gacy. Not because it was poorly written, but because it was putting me into the mind of a man who was a monster.] A sheriff has “exhumed the remains of unknown victims of Gacy to create DNA profiles that could be compared with the DNA of people whose loved ones went missing in the 1970s, when Gacy was killing young men.

“That effort, which led to the identification of one Gacy victim, caused Dart to wonder if the technology could help answer a question that has been out there for decades: Did Gacy kill anyone besides those young men whose bodies were stashed under his house or tossed in a river?”

But even when the sheriff found three vials of Gacy’s blood stored with other evidence, he was out of luck. Because the state would only put the blood in the crime database if it came from a coroner or medical examiner. [Hello, Illinois, you need to change that!]

The sheriff got lucky when some turned up at the coroner. But again, the state had a weird law. It will only send DNA to the FBI's Combined DNA Index System if they are homicide victims or if they were convicted since a new state law was enacted about a decade ago.

So no go on Gacy, right?

Wrong. It turns out that when the state kills someone, it’s classified as a homicide. So Gacy is now in the data base, and as people add more cold case DNA, there might be further matches.

Read other Gacy and DNA testing here.
And in another case, the bodies of the two men executed for the 1959 murders of a Kansas family that became infamous in Truman Capote's true-crime book "In Cold Blood" were exhumed Tuesday to see if their DNA could be linked slayings of a Florida family killed weeks later.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/bodies-cold-blood-killers-exhumed-effort-solve-family-slaying-article-1.1223486#ixzz2Glrv1mth

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Tags: cold cases, dna
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