Recent News Articles

How a Single Strand of Rootless Hair Helped Crack the 1982 Murder of a 5-Year-Old Girl Thanks to Genetic Genealogy

20 Jul 2022 7:21 AM | Anonymous

Analysis of the DNA in a single strand of rootless hair from a 1982 crime scene helped lead the authorities to arrest Robert J. Lanoue, a 70-year-old registered sex offender, officials said.

On a rainy Thursday in January 1982, Anne Pham was getting ready for kindergarten at her family’s home in Seaside, Calif. Having developed an independent streak as one of 10 siblings, the 5-year-old successfully pleaded with her mother and an older brother to let her walk the two blocks to school by herself.

But nobody at a busy grocery store along her route saw Anne. Nobody saw her at school, either.

Not until dinnertime did her large family notice her absence. For two days, there was no sign of her. Then, in some bushes by a road less than two miles away, her body was discovered by accident. She had been sodomized and smothered to death.

The Seaside Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation never developed a suspect or even a lead — until this year.

With a recent resolve to examine unsolved cases, a mysterious strand of hair and the help of genetic genealogy — which has been used to crack unsolved cases across the country in recent years — the authorities in Monterey County were able to identify Robert J. Lanoue, 70, of Reno, Nev., as a suspect and charge him with first-degree murder in Anne’s killing.

You can read the full story in an article by Alex Traub and published in the New York Times at:

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software