Home Hair color How Australian police hope to solve a 1982 murder with a new sketch made from the suspect’s DNA

How Australian police hope to solve a 1982 murder with a new sketch made from the suspect’s DNA


In Australia, Queensland Police have launched a new appeal for information on a 1982 cold case using DNA phenotyping which produced a digital facial image of the suspect.

Digital facial composite from DNA phenotyping of Owen Edward Crabbe murder suspect in Australia in 1982 | Queensland Police

Queensland police in Australia are hoping to solve a cold case from 1982 by locating Owen’s killer Edward Crabbe, Eddie says, using a still-new technique called DNA phenotyping.

It issued a new public appeal for information on November 9 releasing a digital facial image of the suspect based on DNA from blood samples found on Mr Crabbe’s body and at the crime scene.

Owen Edward Crabbe was 57 in 1982 and the father of a child when he was murdered in his hotel room over the weekend. Mr Crabbe left Brisbane for a trip to Gold Coast and had told a friend he was going with another friend named Michael, according to the police statement. He was found with his throat slit and jeans around his neck, according to 9news who also mentions that he recently separated from his wife and came out as gay.

A total of 70 witness statements were taken during the initial investigation forty years ago, but the police did not find the suspect. They believe the attacker was with Mr Crabbe in his hotel room where they consumed alcohol before the victim was violently attacked. kicked and fatally stabbed. The main suspect was also seriously injured.

Investigators from the Cold Case Homicide Investigation Team have begun a review of this unsolved 2020 homicide investigation.

A DNA profile has already been generated, but it does not match anyone currently registered in national and international law enforcement DNA databases. Investigators are now hoping that the digital facial image created from a technology called DNA phenotyping can help.

digital facial composite from DNA phenotyping
Digital facial composite from DNA phenotyping details skin color, eye color, hair color and freckles with a level of confidence. In this case, skin color has a confidence level of 77% and hair color 96%. | Queensland Police

Parabon Nanolabs, a company backed by the U.S. Department of Defense that provides DNA phenotyping services to law enforcement and government agencies, explains that DNA contains the set of genetic instructions for the physical characteristics of people. an individual such as skin color, eye color, hair color, freckles, face shape and ancestry. Using a dataset that matches genetic information (genotype) with physical attributes (phenotype), they then determine how a sample’s genetic information can statistically translate to physical appearance.

The statistics are created with data from DNA tests that people can buy to find out their ancestry. In fact, companies like DNAFamily Tree or GEDMatch sell services to learn about family history also have law enforcement programs.

The DNA phenotyping method has been tested for several years now. In the United States, DNA facial mapping created in 2015 helped Maryland police find the man three years later. murderer of a woman killed in 2005.

In 2020 Queensland Police released a digital sketch created from DNA phenotyping as they still could not identify the body of a man found dead 12 years earlier. New the digital figure and the previously created sketch of the man’s face varied greatly. But the man has not yet been identified.

While DNA phenotyping can be used to attempt to identify bodies and solve murder cases, it does raise ethical questions. China, for example, uses DNA phenotyping to research how to know if a person is a Uighurthe New York Times reported in 2019. The accuracy of DNA phenotyping is also questioned, as well as the possible consequences of inaccurate or erroneous imaging.

In a article 2020French molecular biologist Bertrand Jordan, who specializes in genetics, wrote that the method had made great strides over the past decade but law enforcement tended to overestimate the accuracy of the modeling.

But it remains that “public information is vital to resolve” the murder of Mr Crabbe, said Queensland Detective Tara Kentwell. Police have also launched a new reward of 500,000 Australian dollars ($324,000) for information that could lead to the conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder. “Anyone who was involved in the crime but did not commit the crime who comes forward and speaks with the police, is eligible for this prosecution fee,” said Police Minister Mark Ryan.

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