“It turns out that hair is a very, very good capsule for storing DNA. It’s insoluble, it doesn’t dissolve in water.”Posted: March 21, 2020
Dr. Ed Green, Associate Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at University of California-Santa Cruz who developed a forensic technique that extracted autosomal DNA from rootless hair. https://abcnews.go.com/US/jane-doe-child-case-uncovered-serial-killer-identified/story?id=69648434. Last night a show aired on ABC 20/20 called “The Chameleon” about serial killer Terry
Rasmussen and his connection to the Bear Brook murder cases. It was based in part on the work of a New Hampshire Public Radio podcast we’ve discussed before. https://www.nhpr.org/post/note-listeners-bear-brook-podcast-abc-2020-program-0#stream/0. It is a complex case, but the players involved in solving these crimes involved a dogged detective, web sleuths, a podcaster, a genetic genealogist and Dr. Green. If you missed it, five part segments of the show have been uploaded to Youtube and I presume the rest of it will follow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eB8fRWxtAY8.
Yes, we’ve talked about this before. https://catherinebroad.blog/2020/03/07/ and https://catherinebroad.blog/2019/09/16/. If the MSP and FBI had submitted this hair back in the fall when it was first being discussed, they might have answers by now. Instead, with the coronavirus floating around, this may never get taken care of. Yes, in cases of Rasmussen’s victims and those of the Golden State killer, third party testing was involved. It worked for them! And the FBI isn’t exactly getting the job done here.
While all of the evidence in the OCCK case needs to be rerun using the most advanced DNA testing available, let’s focus on the hair evidence. The hair evidence that can now be tested to yield autosomal DNA evidence that can be used by a genetic genealogist to find the donor of said hairs.
There are, by the Oakland County prosecutor’s own admission, three hairs, all allegedly from the same source. One found on Mark Stebbins in February 1976, one found in the Pontiac Bonneville owned by Arch Sloan soon after, and one found on Tim King in March 1977 (although two hairs were found on Tim). https://detroit.cbslocal.com/2012/07/17/breaking-news-update-in-oakland-county-child-killer-case/.
Leaving aside the fact that the state police never have gotten their story straight here–“The case will be considered solved if the results [of David Norberg’s DNA] match DNA evidence from a single strand of hair found in 1977 on the body of eleven-year-old Timothy King of Birmingham, Michigan, the last of the victims.” 2020-03-21_170939 (from Preserve, Protect and Defend, An Illustrated History of the Michigan State Police in the Twentieth Century, by Inspector Phillip D. Schertzing (2002)). The late Ray Anger, of Berkley PD fame and detective emeritus on the task force, had a funky view of the evidence they were working with. https://catherinebroad.blog/2018/08/08/great-great-great-grandparent/
And we know there was a hair found on Kristine’s coat which was a mtDNA match to Vince Gunnels. I believe that hair was extinguished during testing because it was a small segment of hair. Was that hair also tested in 1999 when Norberg’s body was exhumed? Or just that “lone” hair found on Tim King?
But let’s get back to those three hairs. Four if the two hairs found on Tim, one in his nasal cavity and one in his groin area do not have the same mtDNA sequence. WHY are they not being tested the way the hairs were tested in the Bear Brook/Rasumussen serial killer case? WHY?
Maybe you have already spoken with Dr. Green and Barbara Rae-Venter (also known for her work in helping to solve the Golden State Killer cases) and have used the past six months to advance the ball on retesting those hairs and all of the evidence in the OCCK case. If you haven’t, when can we expect an answer about how and when you will proceed? I bet the DOJ would be shocked by how you stored and store evidence in this case, even applying 1976 and 1977 standards. Maybe they could take a tour of your little evidence shed and take a gander at how you have “computerized” all of the tips.
By the way, it seems like a year ago when I posted on March 16, 43 years to the day my brother Tim was abducted. At this stage in his captivity (five days in), he had about 24 hours left to live, if that’s what you want to call the last 24 hours of his life–“living,” which included his captors feeding him chicken and corn according to the autopsy.