1979 murder solved with advanced DNA testing through partnership between police and private labPosted: November 29, 2021
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department partnered with Othram Labs to identify the perpetrator of the sexual assault and murder of 16-year-old Kim Bryant in 1979. https://dnasolves.com/articles/kim_bryant_murder/. Othram is a private, Texas-based laboratory that specializes in forensic-grade genome sequencing. https://othram.com/. Othram specializes in a process that allows the testing of small – and oftentimes, damaged – DNA samples from crime scenes. Like 42-year-old DNA samples.
In the Bryant investigation a STR (short tandem repeat) profile was recently generated from crime DNA evidence and revealed an unknown male (not found in CODIS), but the profile was valuable in excluding persons of interest. It also allowed Othram to build a genealogical profile from this DNA evidence and to develop investigative leads that were returned to LVMPD. Detectives were able to confirm the identity of the suspect in Kim’s sexual assault and murder as Johnny Peterson, who died in January 1993. An investigation continues into the case and Peterson’s possible relationship to other crimes in the area.
THAT is how it is supposed to work. Police think outside of the box, partner with a private lab (which agencies around the country have been doing with great success in recent years to solve cold cases) and announce their findings to the public they serve. The perp is dead, but police continue the investigation and investigate the possibility that he was involved in other crimes. What a concept.
I learned in Marney Keenan’s book, The Snow Killings, Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation (Exposit Books, 2020), that around 2018 (?) MSP scientists were able to retest a vaginal swab from Kristine Mihelich’s autopsy kit from 1977. (Page 240.). A partial Y-STR DNA sample–which is a partial male profile–was developed. The state police themselves said the sample contained enough markers “to exclude or not exclude suspects.” (Id.) Why won’t the MSP consult Othram, who specializes in the testing of small and damaged DNA from crime scenes?!
The Y-STR is not as conclusive or exclusive as an autosomal STR sample, nevertheless, consider when and why this test is used by forensic labs: The most common application of Y-STRs is in sexual assault cases, where evidence samples are difficult to resolve with traditional autosomal STR analysis due to low amounts of male DNA present in a high background of female DNA.
The cells on Kristine’s vaginal swab revealed male identifiers. She was 10 years old. How in the hell did “male identifiers” end up on that swab? Oakland County Medical Examiner Dr. Robert “No Sperm” Sillery announced in the days after Kristine’s murder that there was no evidence of sexual assault. Obviously forensic testing has come a long way since 1977, but I think that “conclusion” was premeditated bullshit. The following men were present at the autopsy of Kristine Mihelich:
- D/Sgt. Roger Rivard (MSP)
- Lab Specialist James Steggall (Warren Crime Lab)
- Lab Specialist Michael Sinke (Warren Crime Lab)
- Lab Specialist Richard Sharkey (Warren Crime Lab)
- D/Sgt. Dave Piche (Berkley PD)
- Captain Russell Ray (Ferndale PD)
- Investigator Robert Michael (Oakland County Prosecutor’s office)
- APA Edward Sosnick (Oakland County Prosecutor) (representative for Patterson/Thompson)
- Evidence Tech Paul Brabant (Bloomfield Township PD)
- John F. Hinds, Ontario Canada Provisional Police (fingerprint “expert” who took Kristine’s coat and boots with him for further analysis)
That is quite a collection of observers, all probably sworn to silence. I wonder of the still-living, who would tell the truth about what was decided the public would be told about Kristine’s case. It could be that they would all continue to dishonor that little girl by continuing the bullshit that happened under Sillery/Patterson’s watch. Would it surprise any of these men that male cells were found on that vaginal swab? Any one of you men have an actual conscience now that you’ve had your big, bad careers on the backs of these dead kids?
As I reviewed The Snow Killings to find the information about the Y-STR sample, the words of Kristine’s mother, Debbie Jarvis, stood out like the most painful, unanswered clarion call:
The people we rely on to investigate and prosecute murderers appear to be conspiring to protect these child killers.
In my opinion, they have stonewalled and attempted to block every effort to solve these cases. They have refused to answer even the most basic of questions. I don’t know who is the bigger monster here–the people who murdered these children, or the people who refused to bring them to justice.
I can accept that I lost a daughter. I can’t accept that I don’t know the truth about how and why I lost her. Every night when I got to sleep, I have nineteen days to think about. Nineteen days when my daughter was calling out for me and nobody ever answered her. Now I’m trying to get answers for her.Debbie Jarvis at a 2012 press conference, as quoted in The Snow Killings, p. 218.
A clarion call that was completely ignored in 1977 and every year since then, and then manipulated by Jessica Cooper and Paul Walton with their “Arch Sloan” deception in July 2012.
DNA SOLVES and JUSTICE THROUGH GENOMICS. How about it, MSP? Is that what scares you off?
WHY WON’T THE MICHIGAN STATE POLICE PARTNER WITH OTHRAM LABS, AS THE LAS VEGAS POLICE RECENTLY DID TO SOLVE A 42-YEAR-OLD COLD CASE? THIS IS THE MOST VILE, UNSOLVED SERIAL HOMICIDE OF CHILDREN IN MICHIGAN HISTORY AND THE MSP IS SITTING ON DNA EVIDENCE IN THE MICHELICH CASE (PARTIAL MALE DNA SAMPLE) AND HAIR EVIDENCE IN THE STEBBINS AND KING CASE. AND NO ONE IS DEMANDING ANSWERS OR ADDITIONAL TESTING. WTH?!
You don’t have to guess at who I think the bigger monsters are in this “unsolved” case.