Othram’s Genetic Testing Platform Helps Solve One of Canada’s Most Notorious Cases

This is what can happen when authorities are actually serious about solving heinous crimes.


In this case, DNA exonerated a man who was wrongfully convicted of the 1984 rape and murder of nine-year-old Christine Jessop. Toronto Police continued to advance the investigation after the exoneration in 1995 to find Christine’s killer. DNA and genetic genealogy revealed the perpetrator was a man who had died in 2015.

“In 2019, Toronto Police investigators partnered with Othram to leverage Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing™ to build a genealogical profile from the scant quantity of highly degraded DNA that remained.”

The police agency PARTNERED with a private lab, Othram (Justice Through Genomics, https://www.othram.com/) to work with a “scant quantity of highly degraded DNA.” The MSP is apparently all jammed up about using a private lab or a genetic genealogist. Sorry, but you and the FBI have been striking out for over forty years. Scared of a private lab or a genetic genealogist? Seriously? You use polygraphs constantly, for fuck’s sake–how are these approaches any more “out there”?

The MSP should be made to answer to the next Oakland County prosecutor about every step they have and have not taken with the evidence in the OCCK case. And then this case must be taken away from the MSP, the very agency that blew this case and continues to wheel-spin and spin plates to divert attention for their obvious biases and failures. If the FBI is to continue to be involved, SA Sean Callaghan must be replaced by an agent who is not biased and short-sighted.

Surely there is a talented, sharp, motivated, experienced investigator out there who can own the case for the new OCP. S/he doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel–just focus on the fails in this case and get the evidence shored up. If we are at the end of the line for DNA testing, you are at the end of the line for keeping your case files closed. Silence never causes or helps justice.

Corruption killed in this case. It’s time to expose the corruption and stop taxpayer funding of churning deception.

Maybe there will even be a judge in Oakland County who applies FOIA law correctly and forces the MSP and the FBI to release all of the documents in this case–without their bullshit redactions or facility flood lies–and orders the information be made available to anyone who wants it in a useable format for a reasonable cost. You’ve been eating your cake and having it, too, for way too long.

Thanks to a reader for the link.

17 Comments on “Othram’s Genetic Testing Platform Helps Solve One of Canada’s Most Notorious Cases”

  1. maggiep1958 says:

    Wow great work on their part. I voted already and voted for McDonald!

  2. Kathleen says:

    Does anyone know when the flood that supposedly destroyed evidence occurred?

  3. Barb says:

    I just watched Dateline where a 1980 murder rape in Colorado was finally solved using genetic DNA testing. The man is serving a life sentence for it. Why cant Michigan State police do this!

    • cathybroad says:

      1. Because they never expected anyone to circle back on this case and the evidence was not properly stored and may in fact have been misused in MSP POST training. The killers were “forensics informed” for their era, not obsessive compulsives. Suburban police departments processed the first two crime scenes. Bad move. The handling of Kristine’s site was not much better. Tim’s site was better handled, but how interesting that hair evidence on his body is misfiled and the MSP drags its feet when Kym Worthy starts asking for them to find the missing shit. Hairs on Mark and Tim are not compared until after 2010?! The magic hairs from Sloan’s Bonneville aren’t considered until then? Hair, blood, semen, fingerprints–all considerations in 1976 and 1977. Even the dodgy evidence lab tech for the MSP, David Metzger, writes in his 1978 report that the ropes found in Busch’s bedroom should be retained so that additional testing can take place down the road. Do they keep the ropes? No, they do not.

      2. The MSP “can’t” do this because of the state of the evidence, given their poor procedures and because they don’t want this case solved. It’s a much better deal for them if it’s as the original task force and L. Brooks Patterson packaged the case back in 1978: Too murky. Too hard. No answers, but trust us! No more killings.

      • Anonymous says:

        Just had a question regarding the novel “Oakland county child killer” by Michael l Parrott
        In the novel which others have read, the author alludes to the real killer being a priest or pastor that ended up killing himself .

        Some people speculated online that this is in fact true to life, that a pastor did in fact get interviewed by the task force and did commit suicide.

        Do you happen to know the name of this priest/pastor or do you have any info on his life etc
        If this is true it would explain several things about the crimes.

        The only thing I could find online was the son of a pastor in cass corridor being murdered in 1976.


        • cathybroad says:

          Matt, I don’t know the name of any priest or pastor who killed himself during the relevant time frame. I do know that over the years someone in law enforcement (I assume it was a contact from B’ham PD) sent my Dad lists of names of priests–I saw these in 2004–and they included photos and as I recall many of them were deceased. The question was, did we know any of these men? God only knows (pun intended) why those documents were sent to my Dad or where they are now. I have seen lists of pedophile priests online that have a pretty detailed status, including their locations and when they died (but not how).

          Without knowing this author or the access he had to investigators or perpetrators, it’s hard to know how much to read between the lines. Like other authors, did he just steal a real-life plot and “make it his own,” or does the book contain information obtained who-knows-how and kept from the public at the time?

          Now that “Father” Gary Berthiaume is headed back to Michigan to answer for his crimes committed when he was a priest in Farmington, MI, in 1977, law enforcement should really lean on him to share any information he has about the pedophile network in Oakland County. He probably just preyed on his parishioners’ kids as a lone wolf, but you never know.

          • bitamoney says:

            Berthiaume MUST know the scuddlebutt on these old crimes because pedophiles could not operate with any ease or comfort in those days unless they formed a coalition among themselves. That’s why I have always suggested that Harold Depp be looked into. Not for killing, but for knowing what was going on and who was doing it. My family lived across the street from Depp’s mother, father and sister and…there were clues, which an 8 year old (myself) couldn’t understand then.

  4. Amy Garrett (Squires) says:

    I’m so appalled by the complicity of the very people and agencies that are supposed to protect us and provide justice…
    I cannot imagine the depth of your family’s loss..
    I am so sorry Cathy. Keep up the fight, I pray someday Timmy will have his justice.

    • cathybroad says:

      Thanks, Amy. Everyone should be appalled by the complicity and failures of the people and agencies that should have protected Mark, Jill, Kristine and Tim, and society at large.

      In 2006 and 2007, as the information was coming to light about the cars the MSP ignored and kept from the public, as well as the information about Busch, one of my brothers and I struggled with what to do. My Dad was still operating with the idea that law enforcement had our best interests at heart, a position strengthened by dirty cops who interacted with him over the decades. His instincts were distorted by the understandable desire to trust law enforcement.

      During this time, my brother told me he was having nightmares. I, as I often do, interrupted him to tell him that while there were many sleepless nights, I was lucky because I rarely remember my dreams. He explained that he wasn’t having nightmares about the monster Chris Busch, but about the POLICE.

      We have lost many battles in this war, but ultimately I believe light will win. Law enforcement has had such a stranglehold on this case over the decades that most would find it hard to believe what has taken place here. Their refusal to be honest and get out ahead of what LE did in 1976-78, when fully exposed, will result in a stain on Michigan they will never recover from. As a reader pointed out to me, there will always be monsters like Chris Busch and Greg Greene. But the complicity of law enforcement and prosecutors is far, far worse because this affects not just the victims, but society at large.

      • bitamoney says:

        Berthiaume MUST know the scuddlebutt on these old crimes because pedophiles could not operate with any ease or comfort in those days unless they formed a coalition among themselves. That’s why I have always suggested that Harold Depp be looked into. Not for killing, but for knowing what was going on and who was doing it. My family lived across the street from Depp’s mother, father and sister and…there were clues, which an 8 year old (myself) couldn’t understand then.

  5. Kathleen says:

    How can it even be believable that there is no DNA available from 4 children , kept varied number of days in 1976-1977. What did they do. Keep it in a cardboard box , in a shed? It’s hard to imagine that any agency involved in such horrendous crimes could have been so careless with evidence. There has had to be serious cover up in these cases. I always thought someone would speak the truth , not totally giving up on that thought, just can’t do that.

  6. bitamoney says:

    One can only conclude that Michigan State Police is AFRAID of DNA results. Using DNA testing is, at this point, elementary school. Therefore, there is no excuse for the state of Michigan not to do it. Did you hear that, newly elected politicians?

    • bitamoney says:

      I meant to say, also, that I believe DNA can be retrieved and I’m certain that LE will knock themselves out to make sure nobody gets to it.

  7. W.E. says:

    My heart still goes out to you, and all of the other victim’s families. I have been closely following the OCCK case for approximately 15 years. What is known (publicly) now seems well beyond what I would have imagined back in 2005. I know there is still much to be uncovered/discovered. But with every revelation, and advancement in criminal forensics, it seems solving this case becomes closer to a reality.

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