Investigations into Idaho student murders may include forensic genetic genealogy

Authorities investigating the murders of four University of Idaho students will likely use forensic genetic genealogy by comparing DNA evidence to genealogical family databases, an expert said in a new interview.

The Idaho State Police Medical Examiner’s Office is testing 113 pieces of evidence collected at the scene. This was reported by Fox News.

Investigators typically begin by comparing unknown DNA samples using STR (Short Tandem Repeat) DNA analysis to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, a database of known criminals’ genetic samples.

“Comparing to CODIS is very fast. If they had gotten a match, I think they would have been arrested by now, so I think we can assume they’re at least considering using research genetic genealogy,” CeCe Moore, chief geneticist at Parabon NanoLabs in Reston genealogy, Va. This was reported by Fox News Digital.

Moore, one of the most successful genetic genealogists working with law enforcement in the U.S., added, “It depends on how quickly they are aware of the discrepancy in CODIS as to when it was done.”

CeCe Moore, a leading genetic genealogist, says researchers can use advanced technology in research.
James Keivom
Investigators at the scene of the University of Idaho student murder
Investigators received more than 2,600 e-mail and 2,700 phone tips, as well as nearly 1,000 digital media messages.
James Keivom

If that initial analysis is brief, investigators could analyze more than half a million DNA single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, in the search for possible distant relatives of the suspect, Fox News reported.

Using traditional genealogy, experts can reverse-engineer a person’s family tree and narrow it down to a likely suspect, who can secretly take a DNA sample, the paper reported.

An investigator at the scene of the University of Idaho student murders
Matthew Gamet, director of forensics for the Idaho State Police, said homicide investigations take a long time.
James Keivom

Moore and his team recently used genetic genealogy to analyze DNA in the 1975 murder of 19-year-old Lindy Sue Biechler in Pennsylvania.

Male DNA was found on the victim’s underwear, but investigators didn’t hit CODIS.

Scientists at Parabon Labs secretly obtained new DNA from a coffee cup the suspect threw in the trash earlier this year.

The sample matched DNA from the crime scene, which led to the arrest of 68-year-old David Sinopoli, who is accused of murder, Fox News reported.

“They always need an extra step to collect DNA, and it’s usually hidden because they don’t want to tip anybody off,” Moore told the publication.

Investigators can often obtain DNA samples from the killer who used the knife to commit the crime.

“Typically, when I’ve worked with stabbings, if someone gets stabbed enough times, the knife almost always slips,” Moore told Fox News Digital.

“You almost always get the DNA of the perpetrator mixed up with the DNA of the victim,” he added.

University of Idaho students killed
University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Hana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.

Meanwhile, Matthew Gamet, director of forensics for the Idaho State Police, warned that investigations will take time.

“I certainly can’t share information about the situation,” Gamet said said the Idaho State man. “I can tell you that our scientists are working very hard.

“These things don’t have to be in the media. Investigators are getting information that may be useful in the investigation and we continue to work at the state laboratory like 365 days a year,” he added.

State police spokesman Aaron Snell told the newspaper that investigators are still receiving analysis and test results from the state lab.

Officials previously said the results would not be released to the public, the Statesman said.

According to Gamet, it is essential that investigators obtain a “DNA profile” from cells in the body to help identify a suspect through genetic makeup.

In Idaho, the CODIS database includes DNA from convicted felons and evidence from other crime scenes, he told the newspaper.

Investigators can also look to national databases, with records in some states that include not only felons but also people who have been arrested on suspicion of a crime, Gamet added.

As for the use of molecular forensic genetic genealogy, Gamet said the state crime lab does not have advanced technology, but noted it could be contracted for the work.

He declined to comment to The Statesman on any specifics related to the murder investigation.

Police on Wednesday said they were looking for the occupants of a white Hyundai Elantra with “critical information” about the quadruple homicide that left 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves, 21-year-old Madison Mogen, 20-year-old Hana Kernodle and Kernodle. did lum. boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20 years old.


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