Top 5 Cases Solved Using Biological Evidence in the United States
Any material obtained from a crime scene or any place associated with a particular crime, victim, or suspect that is biological in nature is considered biological evidence. It can include hair strands, fibers, any plant or animal materials such as tissues, or even body fluids like blood, semen, and saliva.
Evidence, once encountered, is sent for further analysis to the Forensic laboratory following a proper chain of custody. Biological pieces of evidence are usually sent to the Forensic Biology or serology division.
The typical crime scene scenarios that appear to people are from web series or movies. However, the real situation is quite different. Analysis of evidence does not produce results from superfast machines as seen in the fictional movie world, especially if it is an analysis of a DNA print.
Biological evidence can be considered to have pretty much first preference in the chain of evidence, however, analysis of the same requires patience too.
This article brings to you five of the top crimes solved in the United States that mainly included biological evidence.
5 Cases Solved Using Biological Evidence
1. Krystal Beslanowitch Murder
It was the year 1995, a 17-year-old woman’s body was discovered from Provo river, US. Later the police identified her to be Krystal Beslanowitch who worked as a prostitute in the city.
Her skull was crushed using a granite stone. The police went about the investigation but reached a dead end. All that was left at the scene of the crime was the stone with no fingerprints that could be developed.
Around 2013, with the improvement of forensic technologies in the United States, the preserved granite stone was taken back and subjected to DNA extraction from touch DNA present on the surface of the stone using an instrument known as a Forensic vacuum.
Touch DNA is the traces of DNA samples left by a person on a surface which he or she had touched. It requires a strong bounded working extractor to get a successful result on analyzing the DNA.
This case is a classic example that represents the use of biological evidence but also proved that if handled carefully touch DNA can remain on the surface of an item as silly as a granite stone over years.
2. Case Solved Using a Strand of Hair
It was around 1987, a housewife and a mother, whose name has never been disclosed, was raped brutally by a stranger until her last breath in her home in rural Stoughton, USA. Before her death, she used to receive sexually threatening phone calls with different numbers across the States.
She was 28 years old and a mother of two children.
Two years after the incident, they compares the pubic hair sample received from the victim’s undergarment with her neighbors. This reinvestigation was loosely based on the intuition of the new officer in charge.
To the utmost surprise, upon characterization and analysis, the hair matched with that of Richard Baerneck with a high degree of possibility. In that period, microscopical analysis of small evidence like hair had lots of limitations, despite that the officer was stubborn and proceeded to interrogate Baerneck at the station.
Richard finally confessed to having been in a sexual relationship with the woman for quite a long time and raped her to death during the year 1987 as she refused him on that particular day.
3. A Speculated Case of Eating a Baby
The entire world paid attention in 1986 when Lindy Chamberlain claimed that a dingo ate her baby, Azaria. Tragically, a family in mourning would soon find themselves dealing with a media circus and two wrongful convictions.
Forensic experts found evidence that Lindy had slit her baby’s throat in the family vehicle. However, on further analysis, it was proved that the fluid which they thought was blood had no trace of blood cells or any component of the blood for that matter. Just the viscosity of the fluid resembled that of the blood.
Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murder and her husband was charged with being an accessory to murder, mostly due to public opinion. Lindy was imprisoned for three years before a new piece of evidence – the baby’s jacket – was found to exonerate her.
Despite this happening in 1986, the baby’s official cause of death wasn’t changed to death by dingo until 2012.
4. Foster Child Killed by Sion Jenkins
In 1998, 158 blood spots were found which were so tiny that they could only be seen under a microscope what sent Sion Jenkins to jail for the murder of his foster child.
Blood spatter analysis enabled prosecutors to successfully argue that those tiny drops of blood were caused by an impact from above. This fits the narrative that Jenkins had murdered BillieJo by hitting her multiple times.
The problem with this analysis, however, was that it was later discovered Billie Jo suffered from pulmonary interstitial emphysema.
This condition could have caused expiration to spatter blood to release from Billie-Jo’s lungs when her foster father touched her dead body. The new evidence led to an overturning of the murder conviction, though the case is still unsolved as of this writing.
5. Double Murder Solved Using Saliva Stains
In the year 2011, two corpses were found along a freeway in Lincoln Heights in Los Angeles. It was identified to be of 22-year-old Bree’Anza Guzman and 17-year-old Michelle Lozano’s respectively.
Police arrested 32-year-old Geovanni Borjas next Tuesday in connection with the rapes and murders of the two women after the saliva sample near their bodies matched his. He had spit on the curbside drain outers next to which the bodies lay.
After a trial and error method of randomly checking the DNA obtained from vaginal swabs of the women, the police had reached a dead end. It was exactly then that they stumbled across the least eligible evidence of saliva. Surprisingly it led them straight to the culprit.