ISP to reopen cold cases thanks to $150,000 in grant funding

Forensics Dna

MERIDIAN, Idaho — Idaho State Police (ISP) are reopening investigations into several cold cases thanks to $150,000 in grant funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

ISP’s Forensic Services was awarded $750,000 from the Bureau, $150,000 of which will go to solving cold cases using ‘forensic molecular genetic genealogy.’ ISP says that advances in molecular biology will help them generate leads, and hopefully close these old cases.

“Our goal is to help law enforcement solve cases where we have not been able to find suspects due to limitations in current techniques. Generating new leads on these cases will make Idaho safer by identifying the individuals responsible for these serious crimes,” said ISP Forensics director Matthew Gamette, “By helping these investigators identify the perpetrators of these crimes, we will bolster the criminal justice system and find answers for victims who are still hoping for justice.”

This new approach to DNA profiles will require genealogical data from “consenting citizens,” which ISP will enter into a public database to help identify criminals. Researchers will work to genetically identify a suspect, then compare that DNA to what evidence was collected.

ISP says the science shows forensic molecular genetic genealogy works, and was used to prosecute a rape case in Teton County in 2017.

“Test cases in Idaho run in the last year have shown the robustness of this technique to identify true perpetrators, exonerate innocent individuals, and bring closure to serious violent crimes. This new grant funding will allow Idaho to address cold cases that could benefit from this technique,” said Gamette.