With the law it is often rare to find a done deal that closes and shuts a case. That is unless you have genetic or DNA proof. Science is one of the few definitive forms of defense or proof that can either put a criminal behind bars or set him free. A cold case is law enforcement jargon for an unsolved mystery—a case that has since been closed due to a lack of leads or substantial evidence.
In Detroit, a 34 yr-old cold case file was reopened due to new DNA data indicating a recently released felon as a suspect. There was a case of child abductions and murders in Oakland County from February 1976 to February 1977. One of the victims, Kristine Mihelich was found dead at the age of 10. She was missing for 19 days before police found her body. Officials found mitochondrial DNA on her shirt that has recently been matched to James Vincent Gunnel. Gunnel had been best friends with a nephew of a suspected pedophile in the Flint neighborhood. The pedophile, Christopher Busch, had been charged but never convicted of his crimes until he committed suicide in 1978. Shortly after his death the disappearances and murders also stopped.
None of the families of these children have given up. Haunted for many years now, this is the first break the police have gotten in years. With this new found evidence, the family of Kristine Mihelich is demanding answers. Maybe this young girl will finally get justice.
Did you know there is a national database of DNA profiles known as the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS for short? With the help of CODIS, two unsolved murders of two women in Washington State were finally solved. The DNA found in the cars of both women belongs to a sex offender who is currently serving time for a number of sex crime convictions. Tracey Brazzel was murdered at 22 and Patti Berry at 26. Brazzel’s family was shocked to find out the news. Since Brazzel’s body was never uncovered, her family has never found peace. The inmate implicated in the crime has not yet gone to trial.
In an almost comical but equally tragic story, an inmate incriminates himself in an attempt to use DNA evidence to prove his own innocence. In Phoenix, Timothy Roosevelt Boles submitted his DNA in an attempt to acquit his previous charges. Boles is currently serving 333-years of time for burglary, kidnapping and other sexual assault charges. The FBI found his DNA in the system after he submitted and solved a 1991 cold case.
The blind eye of the law is meant to bring justice and DNA proof is one of the few forms of unquestioned and unbiased evidence. DNA evidence provides more accurate law enforcement, preventing the wrong men from being imprisoned and allowing the right men to be freed.
For more on DNA testing visit the GTL DNA website here.
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