Bodies found in 1970 and 1992 identified using DNA, genealogy
, 2023-03-18 14:35:19,
The remains of two bodies found decades ago in Lake County and Mesa County were recently identified with the help forensic genetic genealogy that led authorities to family members.
Also known as investigative genetic genealogy, the system relies on the analysis of DNA samples. Recent improvements in technology have contributed to the exoneration of innocent people who were previously convicted of crimes, according to the National Human Genome Research Institute.
But another source has allowed investigators to identify long-unknown crime victims — the growing direct-to-consumer genetic testing industry. The more worldwide customers that pay for deep dives into their personal lineage, the greater number of potential relatives that investigators can match to each John Doe and Jane Doe.
Last week, Lake County and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation announced the discovery of one such John Doe’s identity. The man’s remains were found on Independence Pass in June 1970. No identification was made through fingerprints, DNA analysis, or facial reconstruction, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators submitted previously extracted DNA to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s Cold Case team last year. The forensic genetic genealogy testing produced a lead for investigators.
The man was eventually identified as Gardner Paul Smith. Smith, of Modesto, Calif., was 39 years old at the time of his death. He grew up in the Sierra Nevada range and…
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