Police Use of Forensic Genealogy Tech Raises Privacy Concerns
, 2022-03-28 02:00:00,
(TNS) — The bound and gagged body of Marise Ann Chiverella was still warm to the touch when police arrived at the refuse-strewn stripping hole in Hazle Twp. on the afternoon of March 18, 1964.
It had only been a few hours since the 9-year-old third-grader from Hazleton had been beaten, raped and strangled with her own shoelaces, and the killer had carelessly left behind two pieces of irrefutable evidence — a pubic hair and a semen stain on Chiverella’s blouse.
Yet decades would pass before the technology needed to unmask the brutal murderer was finally invented.
Last month, Pennsylvania State Police identified him as James Paul Forte, a bartender who died suddenly at work at the age of 38 on May 16, 1980.
The reveal was too late to bring Forte to justice, but it made headlines across the country and created a local wave of excitement about clearing cold cases. Within days, troopers began a crowdfunding effort to work another cold case, the Luzerne Foundation launched a cold-case fund and some lawmakers began calling for additional state funding to help clear unsolved murders.
Across the country, the emerging field of investigative genetic genealogy — the practice of using direct-to-consumer DNA databases to identify victims and perpetrators of violent crimes — is quickly being adopted by law enforcement agencies that have been long stymied by cold-case investigations. And as DNA testing techniques…
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