Florida May Use Familial DNA Searching to Find Serial Killer
Filed under Testing on 5/11/2011 by Author: .

Familial DNA searching technology is now being used in Colorado, California and Virginia, but the Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood and Florida State Attorney R.J. Larizza are trying to bring the crime-solving technology to Florida. In the DNA database of felons, special software looks for the closest possible relative of an unidentified person who is associated with a crime. This technique is known as a "familial search."  Finding a relative whose DNA is in the DNA database can lead investigators in the right direction. Chitwood said "for law enforcement it is another tool in the toolbox."

Detectives believe familial DNA searches could help solve the Daytona Beach serial killer case. Investigators found DNA, ballistics evidence and other similarities at the crime scenes of four women shot to death between 2005 and 2008 in that city. The Daytona Beach serial killer left behind his DNA on at least two of his victims.  Unfortunately, his DNA profile is not in the state's DNA database or the national DNA database maintained by the FBI. That doesn't mean the man has never been arrested; it simply means his DNA was never placed in a database because it was likely never taken. Both Chitwood and Larizza believe that a familial DNA search could find a close relative of this killer if a family member has been arrested.

In 2008, Mitch Morrissey, District Attorney, and the Denver District Attorney's Office developed a software to make it possible to perform Familial DNA Searching in the Colorado State DNA database.  Morrissey offered to help the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) by giving them the software and installing it for free. Larizza said that FDLE officials intend to contact the state attorney general's office to discuss the issue.
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