New Year’s Eve ID Caps Off Record-Breaking Year of Cold Case Solves
Reston, Va. (18 Jan 2019) — With the positive DNA identification of William Louis Nichols on New Year’s Eve, announced last week by the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) in Florida, Parabon® NanoLabs (Parabon) closed out a historic year in DNA forensics, their law enforcement customers tallying 32 such IDs in all. Nichols, arrested for the 1983 rape of a 12-year old girl, is the latest suspect to be pinpointed with the aid of Parabon’s unique combination of Snapshot® DNA analysis tools, which includes genetic genealogy, phenotyping, SNP mixture deconvolution and kinship testing. Over the past year, information generated by Snapshot analysis proved stunningly accurate, providing crime solvers with case-breaking leads for investigations that, on average, had been cold for over 20 years. Since the introduction of its genetic genealogy service in May 2018, the company has seen a solve rate of nearly one case per week.
“At first, even to us, it was startling to witness the speed with which our genetic genealogy work was able to assist investigators make identifications, and yet now, just six or so months later, we have come to expect a successful identification nearly every week,” says CeCe Moore, who heads up Parabon’s genetic genealogy unit. “Agencies worldwide are using the information we provide to advance their cases and, like HCSO, they generally let us know when they have been able to get a confirmatory DNA match.”
While the majority of cases brought to Parabon have been cold, often for decades, Snapshot is increasingly being used to assist in active investigations. Parabon CEO, Dr. Steven Armentrout, sees this as a positive trend. “In terms of societal and economic benefit, the highest and best value of these tools is at the front end of an investigation, where they have the potential to prevent repeat offenses and save years of investigation.” he said. “Moreover, the likelihood of solving a case is much greater when evidence is fresh.” As more agencies embrace the use of Snapshot services for active investigations, the company expects to see an even higher closure rate than achieved in 2018. “If trends continue, we could see 75–100 solves in the coming year,” says Armentrout.
About Parabon® NanoLabs, Inc.:
Parabon NanoLabs is a vertically integrated DNA technology company that develops next-generation forensic and therapeutic products, which leverage the enormous power of DNA. Staffed by a uniquely qualified team of scientists, technologists and analysts, with expertise ranging from bioinformatics and chemistry to computer science and genetic genealogy, Parabon is bringing to market revolutionary new products and services made possible by recent advances in DNA sequencing, analysis and manufacturing technologies.