The Power of Collaboration

Since 1980, a staggering 250,000 cold cases remain open. Law enforcement investigators have no choice but to put a case in their cold case files once the leads dry up. The rising tide of cold cases consume precious time and resources, often taking years, if at all, to be resolved. But, all of that changed on April 24, 2018, when Joseph James DeAngelo was apprehended by police and accused of being the notorious “Golden State Killer”. Identified though DNA analysis and using genetic genealogy to trace potential family members, the culprit was found and taken into custody.

Investigative genetic genealogy is the newest tool to relieve the overwhelming backlog of cold cases. When CODIS findings for a DNA match fail, law enforcement investigators can now turn to these new DNA technologies to limit the range of suspects and hopefully find the one. With this new science, cold cases throughout the country are now being reopened and solved. As with any new opportunity, many players are entering the field and business of genetic genealogy. Law enforcement investigators are positive the new science will help resolve and lessen the case loads and costs, but as with any new promise, there are skeptics.

Innovative Forensic launched their investigative genetic genealogy firm in late 2019, in Emporia, Virginia. Team members, of whom many are licensed private investigators, come from law enforcement, legal, victim advocacy, and investigative genetic genealogy backgrounds. The services include investigations in violent crimes and cold cases; missing persons and living identification; unidentified decedent and investigative genetic genealogy presentations and trainings. The team members, part of a previous team that has worked over 100 cold cases, have established identities of victims and/or suspects in many cold cases and have solved thousands of unknown parentage cases.

Managing Directors of Innovative Forensic and Investigative Genetic Genealogists, Jennifer Moore and Christa Stalcup, bring extensive investigative genetic genealogy experience to the table. Moore, a Licensed Private Investigator in the state of Virginia, is experienced in using DNA profiles from crime scenes and unidentified remains, along with investigative genetic genealogy to produce successful leads for law enforcement. Additionally, Moore gained legal experience with the Link Law Firm as an assistant in criminal cases. Her previous experience at Parabon NanoLabs as a genetic genealogy team member continues to drive her to use her skills to assist law enforcement.

Stalcup is one of the trailblazers of the emerging field of genetic genealogy. Testing in 2011 in the hopes of solving her unknown father mystery, she has spent nearly a decade learning, mentoring, and being an active leading member in the genetic genealogy community, solving unknown parentage and misattributed paternity cases. As a recognized expert in the field, not only has Stalcup worked with individuals to fill in the missing branches of their family trees, she has consulted with and trained others in techniques and methodologies of genetic genealogy. As the creator of “The Green Chart” (DNA Detectives Autosomal Statistics Chart), she has provided investigative genetic genealogists a critical tool for identifying relationship matches from autosomal DNA. Additionally, Stalcup co-founded several high-profile social media groups related to furthering the growth of the field of genetic genealogy and has solved cases featured in media outlets.

Andrea Noyes, also a managing director and investigative genetic genealogist, has assisted law enforcement with multiple cold cases that lead to successful case closures and/or suspect arrests while working at Parabon NanoLabs. Noyes was a 2019 recipient of the Portland Police Bureau achievement medal for her work. She has degrees in Law Enforcement Technology and Public Administration, a newly completed Stanford University professional certificate in Genetics and Genomics and has past employment experience with the Department of the Navy, Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

Ashley Link is the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in the State of Virginia and licensed to practice law in Virginia since 2016 and North Carolina since 2018. Upon graduation at the Regent University School of Law, she practiced criminal defense until she took her current position as an assistant prosecutor. She graduated in 2015 with a Juris Doctor degree and a master’s degree in government.

Jen Spears, law enforcement liaison, brings 20-years of experience as a homicide/cold case detective in Florida. Deputy Spears has spent years in criminal investigations serving in a variety of assignments and collaborating with numerous agencies around the country through her casework. She has received numerous accolades for her accomplishments in cold case investigations and currently serves on several boards and advisory commission pertaining to cold cases and homicides. Her most recent cold case resolution was a 1984 case in which she used investigative genetic genealogy to close the case.

Sheriff Keith Prince of Emporia, Virginia has been in law enforcement since 1998, having worked with the Emporia Police Department before becoming a sheriff in 2018. As Innovative Forensic’s Client Relations team member, Prince knows the importance of helping others find their love ones and bring closure to cold cases. In 2010, Prince received the Public Service Award for the United States Attorney General for his role in a case that would lead to the arrest of two unsolved homicides in Florida and twenty arrests total.

Katherine Turner is a Licensed Professional Counselor with over 15 years of experience in human services, advocacy and public speaking. She is also currently the Director of the Family Violence Sexual Assault Unit, Child Advocacy Center in Greensville County, Virginia. Turner will use her skills as part of the team to help victims and families understand the process while advocating for them through the justice system.

Managing the Innovative Forensic office is the job of Rebecca Walton, an experienced office manager, and a licensed private investigator in Virginia with over 10-years of traditional genealogy and five years of genetic genealogy experience. Her skills complement the Innovative Forensic team of investigative genetic genealogist and will be invaluable in the genealogical research for their cases.

Innovative Forensic’s team stays with the agency from beginning to end. Their highly skilled and experienced team of investigative genetic genealogists work alongside the law enforcement investigators to identify victims, and potential suspects. With Innovative Forensic’s team on your side, your agency can confidently say “case closed.”

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New Books

Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Most forensic disciplines attempt to determine the “who” of a crime. But bloodstain pattern analysis focuses on the “what happened” part of a crime. This book is the third edition of Blood-stain Pattern Analysis. The authors explore the topic in depth, explaining what it is, how it is used, and the practical methodologies that are employed to achieve defensible results. It offers practical, common-sense advice and tips for both novices and professionals.