More effective use of investigative genetic genealogy.Posted: August 15, 2020
This week the Douglas County,CO Sheriff’s Department announced that they had finally identified a woman who was killed in 1993. https://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/local-news/she-is-someone-she-is-no-longer-our-jane-doe-douglas-county-authorities-id-woman-killed-in-1993-cold-case. In June 1993, the body of an unidentified white woman was found near the Rainbow Falls campground in the Pike National Forest in Douglas County. Through the use of investigative genetic genealogy, deputies said ‘Rainbow Falls Jane Doe’ has now been identified as Rebecca “Becky” Ann Redecker.
The identification of Becky has jumpstarted the investigation and the sheriff’s office said they have a lot of work to do. At a press conference, Sheriff Tony Spurlock said: “I cannot stress enough that if you knew anyone or you knew Becky or you had anything connected in Becky’s life, please call our office and help us identify the suspect or suspects that were responsible for her death.” A phone number and the name of the lead detective were given. There is a $10,000 reward.
A deputy who had worked the case from the beginning said that over the decades, the office worked with a variety of agencies to attempt reconstructions of what Becky may have looked like, of the crime scene, and reexaminations of the evidence. Someone came forward with information leading to a positive identification just last month. Douglas County partnered with United Data Connect, Inc., a recognized leader in forensic science computing with an established reputation for its innovative approach to DNA Familial Searching and Forensic Genetic Genealogy Analysis. https://www.uniteddataconnect.com/home.
If you have read Marney Keenan’s book, The Snow Killings, Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation (July 2020–Amazon has 6 copies in stock this morning and “more are on the way”), you will have a sense of how and why the Michigan State Police handled the evidence in the child killer case in the manner they did. The article about Becky’s case was so foreign to me–a sheriff’s department that actually works on cold cases; partnering with United Data Connect; a press conference to tell the public about developments and to genuinely ask for help from the public (giving a detective’s name and phone number), someone who came forward with information to jumpstart the investigation, reward money. Unbelievable.
Even though there was no such thing as DNA testing in 1977 and 1978, why on earth would the task force so mishandle, misfile and generally abuse evidence in a case involving the largest manhunt in history at that time in such a heinous case? When they “put the case to bed” why wasn’t it put on the shelf in a format that would allow future detectives to hit the ground running? Why is it that to this day, the next hand off to the unlucky detective who gets this case, is a clusterfuck?
Read Marney’s book and you will know why. I am not on social media, but someone sent me a screen shot of a FB discussion of the book. A woman commented: I don’t need to read it, I lived it. Unless you were a family member or close friend of Mark, Jill, Kris or Tim, you didn’t really live this–you watched it. And your perception is skewed because of the narrative Oakland County and the Michigan State Police spoon-fed to the media there. The book will tell you why you will never see an honest press conference in this case with anything close to good news. Can’t handle it? Could you handle a repeat of something like this in Oakland County?
Note that someone went to the sheriff’s office in Douglas County with information in this 27 year old case last month. They didn’t go to a family member or journalist and ask to stay anonymous. Investigators don’t need to reveal your identity as they proceed, but they need your information first hand. “I want to stay anonymous.” You’ve stayed anonymous for over 40 years. Your anonymity is protecting monsters. Protecting your family name or someone in law enforcement? I don’t know how you do it.
If you have information in the OCCK crimes, pedophile/child pornography rings that operated in Michigan in the 1970s and early 1980s, know something about how and why this case was covered up, call the tip line and leave a message. You don’t even have to speak to a human being.