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Partial Match DNA Cases

 

 

When a crime-scene DNA sample matches a profile in the database at most, but not all loci, the individual from the database is excluded. However, it is very likely that a close relative is the source of that DNA rather than a random, unrelated individual. These partial matches can be used by investigators to find the individual who left the DNA at the crime scene, providing potentially valuable information in an ongoing investigation. Although a familial search software was not used to help solve the following cases, they represent examples of investigations where a partial DNA match with a close relative was used to solve crimes.


This webpage is dedicated to the dissemination of information about partial match DNA cases in criminal investigations. If you have case studies in which this method was used or articles involving this topic, please send them to us so they can be included here.

  1. Dennis Rader - for more than 30 years Rader eluded police in Wichita, Kansas, killing ten people and taunting police with the monogram: BTK, for Bind Torture Kill. Using a search warrant, investigators were able to obtain a Pap smear specimen from Rader’s daughter, which had been provided years earlier at a hospital in Kansas. A comparison of her DNA profile from the sample and DNA profiles left at the BTK crime scenes led investigators to conclude that she was the child of the killer. This information, along with other materials from the investigation, allowed police to get an arrest warrant for Rader. When confronted with the information, he confessed to the crimes. News Report re Dennis Rader.PDF
  2. Altemio Sanchez - a rapist/murderer known as the “Bike Path Killer” terrorized Buffalo, New York for three decades, murdering three women and raping over a dozen others. Investigators relied on several key pieces of evidence, including a DNA sample from a relative, to narrow their search. They seized a glass that Sanchez used when he dined at a restaurant and determined that the DNA on the glass matched DNA from the crime scenes of the Bike Path Killer. Sanchez admitted killing the three women and was tied by DNA evidence or similarity of attacks to sixteen other rapes. News Report re Altemio Sanchez.PDF News Report re Bike Path Rapist.PDF
  3. David Bruce Bowen - in 1979 eight year-old Kenneth Conrick was tortured and murdered; the case went unsolved for 30 years. Investigators recently obtained a DNA sample from Bowen’s sister, which showed enough similarities to DNA found on the victim and his clothing at the crime scene to allow investigators to obtain a warrant for Bowen's DNA. Bowen’s DNA profile matched the profile from semen on cords used to strangle the boy. Bowen pled guilty and admitted that he strangled and stabbed the victim after molesting him. News Report re David Bruce Bowen.PDF
  4. Robert Bowman - in 1967, high school freshman Eileen Adams of Toledo, Ohio was raped and murdered. In 1981, Robert Bowman’s wife told police that her husband had kept the girl captive in his basement; but no physical evidence linked them. In 2006, police obtained DNA from Bowman’s daughter and ex-wife and were able to determine Bowman’s DNA profile through a reverse paternity DNA test. The DNA profile from semen found on the victim matched Bowman’s DNA profile. Toledo police have issued a murder warrant for Robert Bowman and he was arrested in 2008. News Report re Robert Bowman.PDF Bowman guilty of killing Eileen Adams.wmv
  5. Richard Paul White - a serial murderer in Denver, Colorado told investigators that he had strangled one of his victims in 2002 after picking her up at a bus stop. White led police to her remains in Mesita, Colorado near the New Mexico border. The victim's identity remained unknown until a homicide detective recognized a police sketch of her drawn with White’s help. Authorities confirmed that 25 year-old Torrey Marie Foster was missing. They obtained DNA from Foster’s daughter and the girl’s father and used a reverse maternity test to confirm that the remains were Foster’s. White was sentenced to two life sentences for two murders and an additional 144 years for raping and torturing three of his surviving victims. Due to his help in locating Foster's remains, White was not charged with her death.News Release re White.PDF News Release re White 2.PDF
  6. Aldo Penaflor - when Hugo Penaflor was convicted of burglary in 2002 his DNA was entered into the Texas DNA database. That DNA matched DNA from the rape of a 9 year-old girl in 2001. His identical twin brother, Aldo, was contacted and confessed to the crime. Identical twins share the same DNA profile. Hugo’s DNA was used to help catch his identical twin brother, Aldo, who received a life sentence for the rape. News Report re Aldo Penaflor.PDF
  7. Normand Wilson - police used the DNA profile of a rape victim to tie her brother to five sexual assaults in the Ville Platte, Louisiana area. Authorities had DNA samples from five assaults between 1987 and 2001, but could not find a match in the DNA database. They knew the same man was responsible for the attacks, but not his identity. During an unrelated rape investigation a DNA analyst saw similarities between that victim’s DNA profile and the DNA profile of the serial rapist. He believed that the serial rapist might be a close relative of this victim. Investigators found Normand Wilson, the brother of the victim, and discovered that his DNA profile matched the DNA profile of the rapist from the five unsolved cases. Wilson received a thirty-five year sentence for his series of crimes. News Report re Normand Wilson.PDF News Report re Wilson1.pdf
  8. Stephen Ainsby - in Banbury, England in 1995, a 17 year-old girl was abducted by two men, driven to an isolated area and raped by both men. In 2004, two different DNA profiles were developed from the attack and searched against the UK National DNA Database. One profile matched Lee Ainsby. DNA analysts realized that the second offender’s DNA profile was very similar to Ainsby’s profile suggesting that the second rapist might be a relative. Investigators located Ainsby’s brother, Stephen, obtained a voluntary DNA sample from him and, before the DNA test results were known, Stephen confessed to the abduction and rape. Stephen Ainsby’s DNA profile matched the second DNA profile. News Report re Ainsby.PDF
  9. Marlo Charles - in Houma, Louisiana, in 1981, a 26-year-old woman was raped and beaten. A jury found Clyde Charles guilty of aggravated rape and he was sentenced to life in prison. After serving nearly 18 years, Clyde was exonerated by DNA testing. DNA analysts realized that while the offender DNA profile did not match Clyde Charles, it was very similar to Clyde’s profile suggesting that the rapist might be a close relative. Clyde’s brother Marlo was DNA tested and his DNA profile matched the offender DNA profile from the rape. Marlo Charles was convicted and sentenced to the same prison where his brother spent nearly 18 years. News Report re Charles.PDF
  10. Sarah Sue Hawk - eight years after her newborn baby was found in a creek in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, Hawk was charged with homicide and concealing the death of a child. Although interviewed by investigators after the newborn's body was discovered, she was never investigated further. A DNA sample obtained from one of her sisters was used for a mitochondrial DNA analysis, which revealed that the baby was a relative. Police got search warrants for the DNA of all five Hawk sisters, including Sarah, and DNA showed her to be the child's biological mother. News Report re Hawk.pdf
  11. James Michael Biela – in Reno, Nevada a 19 year-old college student was found strangled and raped a month after her disappearance in early 2008. DNA was recovered from the crime scene and a tip helped police develop a suspect. Reno police DNA tested the suspect’s son and compared the results to DNA evidence found during the investigation. The comparison was close enough to get a warrant for Biela’s DNA sample, which matched DNA from the murder scene. Biela was charged with rape and murder. News Report re Biela.pdf
  12. Peter Tobin - kidnapped, raped and murdered 15-year-old Vicky Hamilton in Bathgate, Scotland in 1991. Soon after her disappearance, Hamilton’s purse was found lying in a gutter in Edinburgh. When Tobin was identified as the murderer of another woman in Glasgow in 2006, investigators re-examined the purse and low template DNA produced a full DNA profile. The profile was loaded into the UK DNA database and matched to Tobin’s son. The boy was only 3 years old at the time Hamilton went missing. Investigators searched Tobin’s former home in Bathgate and found, in the attic, a knife with a DNA profile matching Hamilton’s DNA. Her profile was developed from a test blood spot card from when she was born. Investigators searched another of Tobin’s former homes and, using radar, found Hamilton’s body buried in the garden under concrete. Tobin’s fingerprints were on the plastic sheeting used to wrap the body and his DNA profile was recovered from her remains. The DNA evidence proved to a jury that Tobin had raped and murdered Hamilton and used the knife to cut her body in two. Tobin will spend the rest of his life in prison. News Reports Re Tobin.pdf
  13. Thomas Robert Soria Sr. - raped and murdered 9-year-old Krystal Steadman in Washoe County, Nevada in 2000. DNA evidence from the sexual assault was compared to DNA from Soria’s 19-year-old son, who had been arrested for the murder and kidnapping. The DNA results ruled out the son, but strong similarities indicated the DNA profile from the rape belonged to his father. A sample from Soria Sr. matched the rape sample. Soria Sr. committed suicide in jail. News Report re Soria.pdf
  14. Warren Ernest Bircher - further investigation of the Sarah Sue Hawk case lead to the arrest of Bircher for homicide, conspiracy to commit homicide and concealing the death of a child. When Hawk gave birth to a baby girl, Bircher got some plastic bags, a flannel shirt and a backpack to put the baby girl inside. He later told Hawk he had put the baby in the creek. The baby’s remains were tied back to Hawk through her sister’s DNA (see: number 10 above). News Report re Bircher.pdf
  15. Landon Karas - raped, strangled and stabbed Doreen Bradley at least 30 times in Alberta, Canadian in 2002. A DNA profile was developed from seminal fluid found on her body. Karas’ father provided a voluntary DNA sample, which revealed that a first degree relative might have left the DNA found on the victim. A DNA sample was obtained from Karas and his DNA profile matched the DNA profile found on the victim’s body. News Report re Karas.pdf
  16. Nancy Ortiz - abandoned her newborn baby who died from hypothermia on a cold December day in 2006. DNA testing of Ortiz's mother and Ortiz's other three children helped prove that Ortiz was the mother of the dead baby. News Report re Ortiz.pdf
  17. Kevan McDonald - was linked to a series of rapes in Renfrewshire, UK, when his identical twin brother's DNA, which was on the national DNA database, matched DNA profiles recovered from two of the rapes. McDonald later admitted to attacking four women.News Reports re McDonald.pdf
  18. Willard Brown - a twenty-three year old rape/murder in Winston-Salem, North Carolina was solved and an innocent man, Darryl Hunt, was freed when DNA from the crime scene was run through the state’s database and they got a near match which was remarkably close to a felon in the database. The follow up investigation showed that the man who actually committed the crime was the felon’s older brother, Willard Brown. When confronted with the DNA evidence, Willard Brown confessed. News Report re Brown.PDF
  19. Tony Oliveo Mack – a seventeen year-old murder in Sumter, South Carolina was solved when DNA from the crime scene was linked to DNA from the brother of the murderer. For almost a decade the DNA from the scene was checked against DNA samples in the state DNA database, without finding a match. Then the brother’s DNA was placed into the state database and investigators noticed his DNA had characteristics in common with the DNA from the murder. When investigators obtained a DNA sample from Mack, it matched the DNA found at the scene of the murder. Tony Oliveo Mack pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. News Report re Mack.PDF
  20. Ronald Smith – Genai Coleman murdered in her car while waiting to pick up her teenage daughter near a transit station in
    Duluth, Georgia in 2008. DNA from a cigarette butt found in the car was entered into the national DNA database and it matched Donald Smith. Smith was arrested on murder charges and when he was confronted with a incriminating video from near the crime scene, he said it was his identical twin brother on the video. Smith’s parents and sister both subsequently confirmed that Ronald, not Donald, was the man in the surveillance video. When faced with the evidence, Ronald Smith admitted shooting Coleman and stealing her car. Ronald was arrested for Coleman's murder and Donald was set free. News Report re Smith.pdf
  21. Jerry Bradish - the body of 13-year-old Teresa Bradish was found in September 1985 along a highway in Wyoming. She had been raped and murdered. In 2008, DNA testing conducted on sperm found on her body suggested a parent-child relationship between the source of the sample and the victim. Investigators obtained the DNA profile of her father and it matched the sample taken from Teresa Bradish's body. Jerry Bradish was charged and convicted of his daughter’s murder. Bradish.pdf
  22. David Finegan - faces charges of burglary and rape after a partial DNA CODIS match between DNA at the crime scene and his sister’s DNA profile. Because of the partial match investigators looked into her male siblings and determined that Finegan was in close proximity to the crime scene on the night of the incident. They obtained a sample of his DNA and it matched the DNA found at the crime scene. News Report re Finegan.pdf
  23. Danny Flowers - his brother was initially the prime suspect in a rape. Police obtained the brother’s DNA and compared it to the DNA left at the crime scene. The Brother’s DNA did not match but was so similar to the DNA sample found at the crime scene that the laboratory suggested to police that the DNA might belong to a relative. Police obtain the DNA of Danny Flowers and it matched the DNA from the crime scene. Danny Flowers was convicted of the rape. News Report re Flowers.pdf
  24. Jason William Sanders - a father who suspected that his son had committed a burglary gave police a DNA sample which showed a 99.9 percent probability that he was the father of whoever left blood at the scene. The son later admitted to being the person who cut himself entering the home which led to him bleeding on the curtains. Report re Sanders .pdf
  25. Gregory Wiart -raped and murdered Elodie Kulik in the Somme in France in 2002 . DNA found near her body did not match anyone in the French National Database. In 2012, Wiart was identified by cross-checking a rare marker from the DNA profile found at the crime scene with the national DNA database. After individuals with the rare marker were identified, Y-chromosome DNA testing lead to Wiart’s father who was in the DNA database for a sexual assault case against minors conviction. Gregory Wiart was killed in a car accident in 2003, so authorities exhumed his body for a DNA sample and his identity was confirmed as the perpetrator. Kulik Clip.wmv
  26. Walter Barbour - raped a 12-year-old girl causing her to become pregnant. Police obtained blood from the girl and tissue from the fetus during an abortion for DNA testing. The DNA profile from the fetus was run in the national DNA database and a possible DNA connection between this profile and Barbour was developed. Barbour had provided a DNA sample while a convict in Missouri. After a follow up investigation Barbour was charged and pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal sexual conduct. News Report re Barbour.pdf
  27. Albert DeSalvo - Mary Sullivan was murdered in Boston in 1964. DeSalvo had confessed to the 11 Boston Strangler murders, as well as two others, but was never convicted of the killings. DNA samples taken from Mary Sullivan's body and a blanket at the crime scene matched an unidentified male. Since authorities did not have a DNA sample from DeSalvo, they followed DeSalvo's nephew, the son of his brother, and retrieved a water bottle he had been drinking from to obtain DNA that would allow them to look for a Y-chromosome match. The crime scene samples had the same Y-chromosome type as DeSalvo's nephew, justifying the exhumation of DeSalvo’s body. Subsequent DNA testing showed that DeSalvo was a match to the DNA found at the Sullivan crime scene. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DU_JTFjN1Y