Tragically, countless individuals perish and never get justice by having their stories told. Cold cases go unsolved, and bodies sometimes never get identified. For instance, the remains of one woman, only known as “Fire Island Jane Doe,” have gone unidentified for almost 30 years now. Despite technological advancements, investigators were never able to identify the individual.
Amazingly, investigators have finally experienced a breakthrough in this cold case.
Investigators tested the skull of the unidentified individual, which was originally discovered back in 1996 on the Bayshore side. This testing had already been done in the past, but genetic genealogy advancements have now helped investigators connect the unidentified DNA to close relatives. The match was confirmed last October when investigators were able to get a DNA swab from a living relative of the suspected victim.
This process is called genetic genealogy.
The victim is now believed to be Karen Vergata.
Vergata, a formerly 34-year-old, was last seen on Valentines Day in 1996. While it’s unclear if her profession had anything to do with her disappearance, it is believed that Karen was working as a sex worker at the time she went missing.
The nature of this case has led many to wonder if the Gilgo Beach killer may have been responsible for Vergata’s death. The Gilgo Beach Killer, Rex Heuerman, is already in custody. He is a known serial killer who has been convicted of at least three slayings involving sex workers.
Despite this potential connection, prosecutors have declined to discuss any potential suspects in this case. The investigation, they say, is ongoing.
New Technologies Mean New Arrests
Have you ever heard about genetic genealogy? This breakthrough technology is helping police departments across the nation solve various cold crimes using the DNA profiles of countless Americans. For years, police have had access to criminal DNA databases, but recently, they’ve had access to other American’s profiles, too. That’s because people are starting to submit their DNA to various companies like Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and more. These public genealogy databases are then used by investigators to match the profiles of DNA samples to close relatives or even the culprits themselves.
The first instance of a successful genetic genealogy investigation led to the arrest of the infamous Golden State Killer. According to many experts, DNA evidence is 99% accurate. For the most part, DNA evidence that gets submitted to courts is considered very strong evidence.
Genetic ancestry is a bit different, though. According to experts and recent studies, genetic genealogy results can be influenced by human biases, errors, and other problems. The genetic results are subject to interpretation, which could lead to the wrong suspect getting accused of a crime.
If you believe that you’ve been falsely accused of a crime as a result of DNA or other evidence, then don’t make the mistake of assuming the courts will validate your truth. Instead, make the decision to hire a criminal defense attorney who can help you prove your innocence.
Are you ready to get started? Schedule a free case evaluation with our team now.