DNA testing of family members - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

DNA testing of family members

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - DNA testing has advanced around the country. In California, a family member's DNA helped lead to an arrest in the so-called ‘Grim Sleeper' killings that started in the 80's. But in Virginia, the effort to use that same technology is now part of a state study. Here's how our current DNA search method works.

"If police gather DNA at a crime scene, what they'll do is submit it to the Virginia databank to see if the person who left that DNA in the databank," said NBC12 Legal Analyst, Steve Benjamin.

The search for leads is then limited to the convicted felons and those who are arrested for violent crimes, because those are the only people registered into the data base. But by using DNA from family members and close relatives, the chances of finding a match are greater.

"That would give law enforcement some additional leads to pursue," he said.

Leads, Benjamin, a Richmond defense attorney says could possibly help solve one of Virginia's high-profiled cases -- the murder of Virginia Tech student, Morgan Harrington.

But while solving crimes is good for everyone, civil rights activist, Kent Willis says authorities need to proceed with caution.

"All these people, they're not suspects in the normal sense, they're all people who are related to suspects, so it's a kind of guilty by association," said Kent Willis from the ACLU. "All of a sudden you are part of a criminal investigation merely because you may be related to who committed a crime," he said.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Driver sought in crash that killed three children

    Driver sought in crash that killed three children

    Sunday, March 26 2017 2:11 AM EDT2017-03-26 06:11:41 GMT
    File photoFile photo

    The Mississippi Highway Patrol is looking for a driver who ran away from the scene of a deadly crash in George County. Three children were killed in the crash. Troopers said a green 2003 Kia Optima was heading east on Highway 198, east of Depot Road, shortly before 4 p.m. on Saturday.

    More >>

    The Mississippi Highway Patrol is looking for a driver who ran away from the scene of a deadly crash in George County. Three children were killed in the crash. Troopers said a green 2003 Kia Optima was heading east on Highway 198, east of Depot Road, shortly before 4 p.m. on Saturday.

    More >>
  • UPDATE: Kidnapped 11-month-old has been located

    UPDATE: Kidnapped 11-month-old has been located

    Saturday, March 25 2017 6:22 PM EDT2017-03-25 22:22:46 GMT
    Christian Perkins. (Source: ALEA)Christian Perkins. (Source: ALEA)

    The child, Christian Clay Perkins, an 11-month-old white male child, has been located.  

    More >>

    The child, Christian Clay Perkins, an 11-month-old white male child, has been located.  

    More >>
Powered by Frankly