Tiniest bit of DNA, technology closing cold cases


REPORTER: ON JUNE 14, 2017
POLICE CAME TO A WOODED AREA
ALONG EAST ORDINANCE ROAD IN
GLEN BURNIE, RESPONDING TO A
REPORT ABOUT HUMAN REMAINS. THEY FOUND A SKELETON AND WERE
ONLY ABLE TO DETERMINE IT WAS A
WOMAN, APPROXIMATELY
20-YEARS-OLD. WHO WAS SHE? THE KEY TO UNLOCKING THE MYSTERY
CAME FROM A SMALL, UNASSUMING
BUSINESS INSIDE THIS NORTHERN
VIRGINIA OFFICE BUILDING. PARABON NANOLABS BEGAN AS A
COMPUTER SOFTWARE COMPANY. IT HAS EVOLVED INTO AN
INVESTIGATIVE GAME-CHANGER FOR
LAW ENFORCEMENT WHEN THEY HAVE
NO IDEA WHO A VICTIM, OR A
KILLER, IS. BUT THEY HAVE THEIR DNA.>>THESE DNA MOLECULES ENCODE
ALL THE INFORMATION ON HOW TO
BUILD A HUMAN. YOUR PROGRAM, IF YOU WILL, IS IN
YOUR DNA. REPORTER: ALL PARABON NEEDS IS A
MINUTE BIT OF DNA TO GENERATE AN
ABUNDANCE OF INFORMATION ABOUT
SOMEONE, USING TECHNOLOGY THEY
CALL SNAPSHOT.>>WE CAN USE AS LITTLE OF ONE
NANOGRAM, THAT IS THE BILLION A
MASS OF A PENNY, LESS, EVEN. SNAPSHOT IS JUST REVERSE
ENGINEERING THAT, PULLING OUT
THE INFORMATION THAT CODES FOR I
COLOR, HAIR COLOR, SKIN COLOR
AND SO ON. REPORTER: THIS IS THE SNAPSHOT
SKETCH OF THE WOMAN FOUND IN
GLEN BURNIE. THIS IS THE PHOTO OF A
26-YEAR-OLD WOMAN MISSING FROM
THE BROOKLYN AREA OF BALTIMORE
CITY. LIKE THIS IS REMARKABLE.%
DENTAL RECORDS PROVIDED FROM
THEIR FAMILY MATCH THE MYSTERY. REPORTER: DR. ELLEN GREYTAK IS
THE DIRECTOR OF BIOINFORMATICS
AT PARABON.>>WE PREDICT THE FACE SHAPE OF
THE PERSON. WE PUT THAT TOGETHER WITH THE
PREDICTIVE PIGMENTATION, WE PUT
ON SKIN THAT MATCHES WILL BE
PREDICTED AND THEN WE HAVE A
FORENSIC ARTIST TWO-PUTTS ON
IRISES, HAIR, AND ALL THAT COMES TOGETHER INTO A COMPOSITE.>>SO THIS IS A COMPOSITE OF
YOU?>>BASED ON MY DEI. — DNA.>>IT’S PRETTY GOOD. IT’S NOT MY DRIVERS LICENSE
IMAGE, BUT YOU CAN ELIMINATE
PEOPLE FROM YOUR SUSPECT LIST. REPORTER: THEY USE GENETIC
GENEALOGY TO TRACK DOWN
SUSPECTS, UPLOADING DATA FROM
THE CRIME SCENE. THIS IS THE ONLY GENEALOGY SITE
WHICH ALLOWS LAW ENFORCEMENT
USAGE. REPORTER: ALL THE PARTICIPANTS
HAVE AGREED TO ALLOW LAW
ENFORCEMENT TO COMPARE THEIR DNA
DNA THAT MAY BE FOUND AT A CRIME
SCENE. EXPERTS GENEALOGISTS CAN TAKE
ANY MATCHES AND METICULOUSLY
TRACED BACK TO EVENTUALLY
PINPOINT A SUSPECT.>>AND BOY HAS IT BEEN SOLVING
CRIMES. WE HAVE HAD A DOZEN SOLVED
CASES. MANY OF THESE ARE CASES THAT
HAVE BEEN COLD FOR DECADES.>>IN OVER 50%, WE ARE FINDING
MATCHES THAT ARE WORKABLE. OVER HALF OF THE CASES HAVE SOME
LIGHT, WHEN EVERYTHING ELSE WAS
DARKNESS. DO YOU THINK THERE WILL COME
A TIME WHERE YOU CAN’T GET AWAY
WITH A CRIME?>>I THINK THAT’S TAKING IT A
BIT FAR, BUT CERTAINLY, WITH DNA
EVIDENCE, IT IS DIFFICULT NOT TO
LEAVE DNA BEHIND. AND AS THE FORENSIC TOOLS
IMPROVE, WE ARE CERTAINLY MAKING
THINGS MORE CHALLENGING. REPORTER: AS FOR HER KILLER,
POLICE QUICKLY ZEROED IN ON HER
BOYFRIEND WHO CONFESSED. OF COURSE, NOTHING CAN EVER
BRING BACK THEIR LOVED ONE,
NOTHING CAN CHANGE WHAT
HAPPENED, BUT AT LEAST THEY
DON’T HAVE TO GO TO BED EVERY
NIGHT WONDERING WHO DID THIS? REPORTER: MINDY BASARA, WBAL TV
11 NEWS. STAN: LATE THIS AFTERNOON, WE
WERE NOTIFIED BY ANNE ARUNDEL
COUNTY POLICE THAT TOMORROW THEY
WILL ANNOUNCE ANOTHER COLD CASE
HOMICIDE ARREST USING PARABON
NANOLAB’S TECHNOLOGY. WE’LL BRING THAT TO YOU ON
ELEVEN NEWS AT 5:00 AND ON THE
WBAL-TV MOBILE

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