Decades-old murder case solved using DNA evidence, investigative genetic genealogy



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Police in Toronto say they’ve solved a 50-year-old murder case using DNA evidence Dale manuck takes us through how investigators put together the pieces and crack the case she was living a life like any other teenager would at that time and U unfortunate circumstances ended in her death 16-year-old Ivon laru was last seen

Alive on November 29th 1972 near Oakdale Road in Finch Avenue West in North York the day after L’s body was discovered here in King Township along 16 Side Road between Jane and Keel Street some 24 km away from where she was last seen alive police say it was here where she was

Murdered and her family has been searching for answers ever since generations of detectives worked on the case eventually the trail went cold $50,000 rewards were issued and still nothing but police never gave up eventually turning to investigative genetic genealogy or IGG a tool that allowed them to match a 51-year-old DNA

Sample from the crime scene with genealogical databases they found relatives which led them to the person they believe killed Laro we identified avons killer as Bruce Charles cantelon Bruce cantelon was a 26-year-old who was living in Toronto at the time he was known to police having committed several violent offenses against women police

Say cantlon had been incarcerated several times due to mental health issues in 1974 19 months after the the murder he took his own life if he was alive today he’d be facing a murder charge the relatives were Cooperative um again uh extremely difficult for them as well learning 51

Uh years later um that someone they knew had done something so horrible as for Laro family they were notified last week they’ve asked for privacy but issued a statement writing in part for over half a century our family has wondered getting some answers will never change

What happened or bring her back we hope that more funding will become available for new advancements in DNA genology so that more grieving families can have some form of clarity York Regional Police say they are applying IGG to several Cold Case investigations Dil manuu CBC News Toronto my next guest has helped several

Have SOL SOL several Cold Case murders using genetic genealogy technology in Canada and in the US Anthony red grave is a forensic genetic gen genealogist who joins me from athl Massachusetts uh that is a mouthful Anthony thank you so much for your time thank you for having me so let’s talk

About uh I want to talk about IGG I I also want to just get your reaction um when you hear about a cold case like this m this kind of a murder uh being solved this one in Toronto um and you hear that statement from the family and

How it’s so important even though it’s 50 years later what’s your reaction ction when you hear about a case like this getting solved um just relief for one um there’s so many cases out there that need to be solved like this and um so many families waiting for answers and investigators

Who have devoted their entire careers to trying to get these cases solved uh utilizing uh new technology and being willing to try new things to get this done is just proving itself to be the way to get it done and um I just I feel

So much relief and so much uh joy and so much um H what’s the word I’m looking for um just mostly relief for the family and that they finally get any answer at all yeah and you’ve had that personal relief because you were part of the team that

Helped solve the 1984 murder of a 9-year-old girl from Toronto um how can what can tell us about how this kind of technology is used to solve cases uh like this IG explaining if you can sure um so for example if if a person is an

Adop e or doesn’t know who that one of one or both of their parents are uh it it works very similarly the the the methodology so you would take a DNA sample upload it to a database look at the list of matches who share any sort of genetic material with that sample and

Find out how they relate to each other and then it’s a logic puzzle from there the theory is that if uh two or more people with known ancestry descend from the same common ancestor and then an unknown person shares DNA with them they logically must descend from the same

Family so that logic puzzle is done multiple times over until it starts connecting and leading down to uh a family or one individual that might uh be the source of that DNA when DNA evidence came into play it was a a GameChanger for police and for

The courts in terms of solving cases and now we seen to be seeing something a similar sort of uh jump if you will in terms of IGG being uh that useful of a tool would you would you make that comparison in terms of the history of

How uh police work and court cases go how valuable this this is oh absolutely so um the initial form of DNA evidence that was used that s strr testing can be used to compare a a suspect to uh DNA left at a crime scen the big difference here is that forensic genetic genealogy

Can produce a suspect where previously wasn’t one um by Leading by by following these these genealogical Clues down to where an individual might be based on uh many many relationships instead of just to themselves their parents or full sibling um and that’s that’s really what’s the big difference right now it

It’s a huge ug leap from what we used to be able to do before and I really look forward to seeing so many more cases get solved this way I have about 30 seconds left but I just have to ask you here how long can these samples actually stay viable these DNA

Samples they can stay viable for as long as the uh storage method allows so if something is retrieved relatively recently from a scene uh stored in a sealed container and refrigerated it can kind of last indefinitely as opposed to just just being you know in an envelope

In a in a storage locker but even then that might be able to be used uh based on advances in lab technology that allows uh smaller samples to be worked and it’ll continue to improve I’m sure but generally if there’s any DNA evidence anything could po could be possible Anthony Redgrave a forensic

Genetic genealogist thank you for your time thank you

Nearly 51 years after she was last seen alive, York Regional Police detectives say they finally know who killed North York teenager Yvonne Leroux — thanks to decades-old DNA evidence and investigative genetic genealogy (IGG) technology. Forensic genetic genealogist Anthony Redgrave explains how IGG technology is used.

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