A grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance recently gave Idaho State Police funds they are using to help solve cold cases.
The grant ISP is using is part of the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, a program through the Bureau of Justice Assistance to help transform how law enforcement handles sexual assault cases, Northwest Public Broadcasting reports.
“What we’re looking at, is more sequencing in the human genome and looking specifically at that individual’s DNA. Then making use of that technology by searching a genealogical database,” said Matthew Gamette, the Idaho State Police Forensics Services Laboratory systems director.
Commercial databases such as AncestryDNA and 23andMe have become a popular way for people to find out more about their ethnic history and health traits. When signing up for the services, Gamette said, very often, people check a box that says, “I’m willing to help law enforcement search my data to potentially identify other perpetrators of crimes,” which has helped expand genetic leads for law enforcement.
ISP is using these new techniques to help agencies across the state solve cold cases and find violent homicide offenders, Gamette said.