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Genetic Genealogy Is Cracking Cases Once Thought Unsolvable. Not All Police Forces Can Afford to Use It.

9 Feb 2024 8:10 AM | Anonymous

There is an interesting article by Leah Hendry published in the CBC News web site that may be of interest to many genealogists:

As more police forces crack decades-old cold cases with the help of genetic genealogy, Montreal police have yet to have a major breakthrough on a case of their own.

The lack of progress — at least publicly — is raising concerns about the Montreal police department's priorities at a time when both the Sûreté du Québec and neighbouring Longueuil police have used new forensic methods to solve cases long thought to be unsolvable.

Last spring, Longueuil police solved the 1975 murder of Sharron Prior and in 2022, Quebec provincial police tracked down the man suspected of killing Guylaine Potvin, a 19-year-old slain in Saguenay nearly 24 years ago. He is now on trial for first-degree murder and sexual assault.

Both cases analyzed Y chromosome DNA — which traces paternal ancestry — to help match an unknown profile with a potential family name. Armed with new leads, police then used traditional policing techniques to zero in on a suspect.

Stéphane Luce runs a non-profit organization that raises awareness of unresolved missing persons and murder cases in Quebec. He says it's about time Montreal had a win.

The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) created a cold case unit in the spring of 2019 which now has eight investigators.

"With this new technology it could be a good thing for the investigators to put their nose in a file and find out if there's DNA and good DNA to be worked on," said Luce, president of Meurtres et Disparitions Irrésolus du Québec.

Stéphane Gauthier was kidnapped on his way to meet his mother and her boyfriend in Montreal's Plateau neighbourhood on Dec. 21, 1982. (Meurtres et Disparitions Irrésolus du Québec)

Luce's organization has pushed the SPVM to re-examine several unsolved murders, including that of 12-year-old Stéphane Gauthier, who was abducted and murdered just before Christmas in 1982.

Luce believes Gauthier's case is a perfect candidate for advanced genetic testing because unidentified DNA was found at the crime scene.

You can read the full article at:

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