Homicide victims are revealed by genealogists
For the first time, Swedish police have succeeded in using commercial DNA databases for genealogy to move forward with an unsolved Swedish murder case.
The murder in Ekeby became a so-called cold case, and unsolved "cold" cases are a growing problem. According to previous Swedish law, murders and killings were written off after 25 years, but that rule is now gone and an important reason why the unsolved cases are increasing. At present, there are close to 700 unresolved murders and killings in Sweden.
It was in September 2003 that a murder victim was found in Ekeby outside Helsingborg. The police made several attempts to identify the body, but none of the efforts led the investigation forward.
– Dental status and clothing give a certain indication, yet the person has not been identified, says Police Chief Bo Lundqvist.
NOW THE POLICE BELIEVE THAT SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE IN THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION USING DATABASES FROM THE TYPE OF DNA TESTS ORDERED BY PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS OVER THE INTERNET.
Track family through DNA
The DNA tests that the police have used for almost 20 years have only been able to trace the closest relatives, such as a sibling, child, or parent.
Newer commercial DNA tests that private individuals now buy are significantly more advanced and provide much more information – including more distant relatives further out in the family tree.
DNA from a crime scene that is compared to DNA in a database for genealogists can lead to more hits, for example, a cousin or chore.
The new method can solve more cases
The police now hope that commercial DNA databases from people who genealogy or want to check their health will help the police overcome some of the unresolved murder cases.
The murder in Ekeby may now be solved thanks to the genealogy database, according to Bo Lundqvist.
Recently, Lundqvist was given the name and image of three people, who are the three missing persons whom they have found in the family researchers database, and according to the police, one of the three should be the murder victim in Ekeby.
“In the same second we now find out who the dead person is, we start a murder investigation,” says Bo Lundqvist.