CLEVELAND — More killers, kidnappers and rapists are being tracked down and caught because of continued advances in DNA technology, according to DNA experts speaking Cleveland Saturday.
Thanks to those advances in collecting and testing DNA evidence, more violent criminals are being locked up in northeast Ohio and across the country.
Saturday afternoon dozens of people, including law enforcement officers and families of crime victims, attended the Victims of Crimes conference that took place in downtown Cleveland to learn about this new DNA technology.
Speakers included DNA expert Andrew Singer. His company, Bode Technologies in Virginia, tests 30,000 DNA samples every year.
He said one of the most recent DNA breakthroughs includes what’s called genealogy testing. This process allows DNA samples can be matched to relatives, who have committed crimes, and helps track down wanted suspects.
It was used to catch a serial killer in California.
“The primary example being forensic genealogy that was used to catch the Golden State Killer,” Singer said.
One of the speakers included Yvonne Pointer. Her daughter Gloria was kidnapped and murdered on her way to school.
“30 years ago when she was murdered, they didn’t have the resources with DNA that they have now,” said DNA advocate Yvonne Pointer.
Decades later her killer was caught thanks to advances in DNA.
“If there’s any DNA left on that crime scene, they’re going to get you,” Pointer said.
Pointer said DNA can also clear innocent people wrongly accused of crimes.
“DNA can find you and DNA can also solve cases of innocent people who have been incarcerated,” Pointer said.
Not only does new DNA testing make it harder for criminals to get away with crimes, it means once they’re caught their crime spree is over.
“We’re hopeful that more cases get solved and future cases are prevented,” Singer said.
More than a hundred people attended the conference.