One case solve per week on cases over 20 years cold; four in the past week
Reston, Va. (Ammoland.com) – Friday’s arrest of Coley Lewis McCraney by the Ozark Alabama Police Department for the 1999 murder of teenagers J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett marked what could be the end of a nearly 20-year search for their killer.
One of the most infamous unsolved crimes in Alabama, the case was also the fourth cold case in the past week for which law enforcement credited the Genetic Genealogy Unit at Parabon® NanoLabs (Parabon) for its assistance.
In addition to Ozark investigators, the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, and the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin all announced positive identifications (3 arrests and 1 deceased suspect) in cases that had been unsolved for over 24, 34 and 42 years, respectively, thanks to leads generated by Parabon. Since the introduction of its Snapshot® Genetic Genealogy Service last May, Parabon has assisted law enforcement agencies in making positive identifications in nearly 50 cases that were cold for over 1,000 years in total.
The magnitude of the achievement is noteworthy since cold cases are particularly difficult to investigate; memories fade, witnesses and suspects move away or die, and leads have typically been exhausted. Until recently, even DNA evidence was of little value if it failed to produce a match. However, genetic genealogy can breathe new life into a cold case investigation by using DNA as a “genetic witness” to generate leads. Even if a suspect in a particular crime had no known connection to the victim, DNA can still connect him or her to the crime scene and genetic genealogy is providing a powerful new approach to tying such unknown DNA to an identity.
CeCe Moore, who leads Parabon’s team of five genetic genealogists, anticipated such a closure rate early on when she forecasted that Parabon would assist with “50-100 solves in the first year.” She is also quick to point out that this level of success is possible only because of the hardworking and forward-thinking detectives who take on these tough investigations.
“It’s not a cliché; the detectives we work with never give up. We see evidence of their passion on a daily basis.”
Steve Armentrout, Parabon’s CEO, attributes the success to the unique team Parabon has assembled. “With world-class genetic genealogists and an in-house bioinformatics team, Parabon is able to offer a comprehensive solution that includes genetic genealogy, DNA phenotyping, and kinship analysis. Many of these cases could only be solved with a combination of these technologies, and we continue to push the envelope with new R&D that will keep us on the leading edge of DNA forensics.”
About Parabon® NanoLabs, Inc.:
Parabon® NanoLabs is a vertically integrated DNA technology company that develops next-generation forensic and therapeutic products, which leverage the enormous power of DNA. Staffed by a uniquely qualified team of scientists and technologists, with expertise ranging from bioinformatics and oncology to chemistry and computer science, the Company is bringing to market revolutionary new products and services made possible by recent advances in DNA sequencing, processing, and manufacturing technologies.