South Korean police ID possible serial killer responsible for 9 murders over 30 years ago

South Korean police announced today that authorities have identified a suspect wanted in nine murders that took place between 1986 and 1991.  The suspect is a 56-year-old man who is serving a life sentence for the 1994 rape and murder of his sister-in-law.

Police said technological improvement of DNA analysis enabled authorities to extract DNA samples from evidence that was not previously possible.

Seoul’s senior police officer said:

I express my deep condolences to the victims and their families, as well as the Korean public, for not having been able to solve this case for a long time.  We will do our best to discover the truth with a sense of historical responsibility.

Yesterday, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced that a suspected serial killer was charged in the murders of four women since 2018.  It is believed the four women were sex workers.  Worthy said they are investigating two other murders believed to be committed by the same man.

We worked tirelessly to make sure we can bring [the women] some modicum of justice, of respect and dignity, no matter what they were engaged in before, during and after they were reported missing.

[To the families and friends of the women, Worthy said:]

We truly care about the person that you loved and the person that you lost.

In the days after Tim’s body was found, I remember reading news articles stating that “privately,” some in law enforcement were relieved Tim had been dumped in Wayne County because that meant Wayne County Medical Examiner Werner Spitz would be conducting the autopsy instead of Oakland County Medical Examiner Robert J. Sillery.  I remember thinking, wow, that is a real stretch for a silver lining here.  It would be decades before I would understand the true level of Sillery’s incompetence.

And it would be decades before I comprehended how “lucky” we were that Tim was dumped in Wayne County.  Kym Worthy is to Jessica Cooper as Werner Spitz was to Robert Sillery.




It’s National Forensic Science Week

Believe it or not, this is National Forensic Science Week.

Here is a link to Bode Technology, with an explanation about their role in human DNA analysis.

Bode Technology serves the law enforcement and identification markets and is unique in that it provides both state-of-the-art human DNA analysis and innovative DNA collection products. The range of Bode’s services include diverse offerings such as high-throughput DNA testing services, casework analysis, missing person identification, private and CODIS databanking of convicted offenders or arrestees, as well as paternity identification. Our patented DNA collection systems are in use worldwide for collections of DNA from convicted offenders and arrestees, from crime scenes, as well as from parents and children for genealogy and identification services. By leveraging the strength and experience of our research and development teams and casework analysts, Bode Technology offers worldwide DNA analysis services, consulting, training, and validation services on a customized basis.

State-of-the-art, even with limited, deteriorated evidence that was not stored properly.  Is there any reason not to go forward with this?  The evidence can sit on a shelf or given the best shot to reveal some answers.  If the magic hairs in this case are so important, they must be evaluated using state-of-the-art DNA analysis.

“Why This Scientist Keeps Receiving Packages of Serial Killer’s Hair.”

Thank you very much to a reader who sent me this article from today’s New York Times.  The article does a great job of describing advancements in the processing of rootless hair shafts for DNA, the players involved in this testing, and the cases that have been solved using this technology.  Earlier this summer, podcaster Nina Innsted sent me information about this new technology and its use in catching the Golden State Killer, as well as in identifying murder victims in New Hampshire.

On July 12, 2012–yes, SEVEN years ago, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper announced that DNA testing by the FBI found that hair found on Mark Stebbins and Tim King belonged to the same person and that this hair matched hair found in Arch Sloan’s 1966 Pontiac Bonneville.  Sloan’s Bonneville was searched and evidence collected after his name was turned in as a suspect after Mark’s abduction.  But not to worry, Arch–the prosecutor let you and everybody else know that this hair did not belong to you.

Evidence Links 2 Victims In Oakland County Child Killer Case

Leaving aside the glaringly obvious question–why did it take until 2012 to conduct tests on this hair evidence that was collected in 1977??–I am going to assume that these hairs were all mtDNA sequenced by the FBI and that they can in fact establish that these hairs are from the same source.  In other words, they match.  For decades we had to listen to Ray Anger wailing about how there was literally no evidence in these cases.  In the early 90’s suspect David Norberg was exhumed in Recluse Wyoming so his mtDNA could be tested against–law enforcement acknowledged–a hair found on my brother Tim.  I can find no news article where the press asks the obvious question–hey, I thought there was no evidence?!  But, Norberg was just another scumbag who got away with his pedophelia and maybe even murder and in what might have been the most cynical attempt to divert attention ever made, there was no match, end of story.

The fact that these hairs exist has been acknowledged by the prosecutor.  They must be tested using the most advanced technology available.  To solve the Bear Brook (New Hampshire) murders, NH State Police sent hair fragments–hair pieces without a root to a lab for testing. They used Bode Cellmark Forensics.  This lab, using hair fragments, was able to obtain GED Match quality DNA results, which allowed the victims in the Bear Brook case, kept in barrels over a 35-45 year period, to be identified.

As described in this abstract, there is now an enhanced DNA extraction method for hair shaft forensic evidence which when combined with a recently developed nuclear DNA typing assay, improves “the success rate for obtaining informative results from highly compromised, degraded and trace forensic samples such as rootless hair shafts.”  The result:  “These methodologies can produce nuclear DNA results with high statistical power from rootless hair shafts.”

The results from Bode labs can then be sent to an independent research firm for genealogy research in order to identify the owner of these hair.  For example, the results could be outsourced for the genetic GED Match inquiry to a genetic genealogist such as Barbara Rae- Venter.  After her instrumental role in helping to solve the Golden State Killer Case, as well as identifying the victims in the Bear Brook murder cases, she has since been approached to assist in over 50 unsolved homicide and unidentified victim cases.

Venter has been a very busy person after success in these cases, but again—notice these are sometimes cases involving rootless hair shaft evidence.  For example:

Thirty-three years after the crime, breaks in the case are happening fast. On Nov. 13, 2018, Dr. Rae-Venter uploaded the adult victim’s DNA profile to GEDmatch. “I got the results at 6 a.m. the next morning and identified her by 8 through a second-cousin match. All because of atDNA from rootless hair.

“Extracting atDNA from the hair shaft was not possible before,” she emphasized, adding that final identification must still be confirmed by DNA testing of a family member. “The implications of this technology for solving cold cases worldwide are just huge.”

Testing exists to obtain nuclear DNA results with high statistical power from rootless hair shafts.  The kind found on Mark and Tim, and in Sloan’s Bonneville.  It is done by outsourcing it to experts in relevant methodologies, who have quickly learned to whittle down the time necessary to perform a genetic DNA match with a family member.  A couple of phone calls, some guidance from the experts, and send the lab the hairs.

More trusted law enforcement has been approached with this information and seems willing to investigate.  Most of the people who would be in a position to shut this down are either retired or dead.  No excuses.


“There was a sense of duty to finish the investigation. Any investigator has that one case they wish they’d finished, and that was mine. I just kept working on it. I wanted to get justice for that girl and her family.”

Pennsylvania State Trooper Jeffrey Brock, who continued to investigate the abduction and assault of a young girl some twenty years ago.  Although no match could be found to a partial fingerprint in 1999, advancements in the FBI’s fingerprint technology helped identify the perpetrator.

Brock consulted a now-retired FBI agent for advice on the cold case and the agent had the fingerprint re-checked using the advanced technology about a year ago.  Eventually there was a hit on an offender who was sentenced last year to 30 years in prison for this crime.

Dogged work, commitment and coordination with the FBI resulted in the solving of this cold case.  Had the trooper not reached out to this FBI agent, the agency would probably never have taken advantage of the latest technology used here, the Next Generation Identification System.

As happy an ending as you can have in a case like this and another striking contrast to the handling and evaluation of evidence in the OCCK case.  Thanks to a reader for sending this article to me.



“Don’t lose the heart or the drive to get resolution. You just never know.”

Announced yesterday:

A 47-year-old cold case murder of an 11-year-old girl resolved using genetic DNA.  The suspect had been dead for 16 years.  The first few DNA testing attempts were unsuccessful, but here the police agency kept after it.

Another genealogical cold-case murder solved.

From today’s Denver Post:

In what may be the first DNA genealogical cold-case murder solved in Colorado, a man who died seven years ago has been identified as a suspect who picked up an 18-year-old hitchhiker and bludgeoned her to death in August 1981.

Donald Steven Perea, who died in 2012, killed Jeannie Moore, 18, and dumped her body in 1981 in Genesee Park in Jefferson County, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader said.

“While we would have preferred to place handcuffs on the suspect, we hope knowing who and where he is brings them some degree of closure,” Shrader said during a news conference at the sheriff’s office in Golden.

Investigators ultimately used a DNA sample provided by Perea’s daughter to confirm that he killed and sexually assaulted Moore.

“Further investigation led investigators to identify Perea as being 3.3 trillion times more likely than anyone else to have committed the murder,” Shrader said.

Investigators used familial DNA to identify suspect in 1981 murder of teen hitchhiker

See, it’s not impossible.


Thanks to a reader for forwarding this link.  You need to read this article, DATED AUGUST 31, 2019.

And while you are at it, read this, published today:

I wonder how N. Fox Island, Frank Shelden, the institutions he threw his money at and GM would have fared back in the day if the Internet was up and running and cell phones with photo and recording capability were available back in the 1970s.  We know the pedophile and child porn rings would have fared much better back then, but technology can be a double-edged sword.

Speaking of technology, I would love to take a photo of the facility where the MSP stores the evidence in the OCCK case–you know, the dirty blanket used to cover Mark’s body before his body was “processed,” Jill’s bike, Kris’ snow boots, Tim’s skateboard, and all of the MSP’s antiquated, undigitized files and photographs.  A picture is worth 1,000 words.  That photo would speak volumes.  It might say something like “Do not disturb.”