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Tue Jan 10, 2012, 03:12 AM

DNA links 1991 killing to Colonial-era family

DNA may help Seattle-area sheriff's deputies find a suspect in a 20-year-old killing after a comparison with genealogy records connected a crime-scene sample to a 17th-century Massachusetts family.

The DNA sample was taken in the death of 16-year-old Sarah Yarborough, who was killed on her high-school campus in Federal Way, Washington, in December 1991. The King County Sheriff's Department has circulated two composite sketches of a possible suspect -- a man in his 20s at the time with shoulder-length blonde or light brown hair -- but had been unable to put a name to the sketch.

In December, though, the department sent the DNA profile to California-based forensic consultant Colleen Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick compared the profile to others in genealogy databases and found the closest match was to the family of Robert Fuller, who settled in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1630 and had relatives who came over before him on the Mayflower.

While the descendents of Robert Fuller are likely to number in the thousands after nearly 400 years, geography and physical characteristics can help detectives narrow their search, Fitzpatrick said. In fact, Fitzpatrick said, since the DNA trace follows male descendants, there was "a high degree of probability" that the man police are looking is named Fuller.

full: http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/09/justice/washington-cold-case/index.html

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Reply DNA links 1991 killing to Colonial-era family (Original post)
alp227 Jan 2012 OP
rt-sails Jan 2012 #1
cbrer Jan 2012 #2
frogmarch Jan 2012 #3
CAPHAVOC Feb 2012 #4

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Jan 10, 2012, 05:25 PM

1. "DNA Links 1991 Killing to Colonial-era Family"

Some (many?) of us in the genetic genealogy community are not happy with Ms. Fitzpatrick's methods and ethics here. She obtained at least some of the information she used by deliberately deceiving a colleague as to her purposes. She refuses to disclose her "proprietary techniques" of analysis, making some experts wonder about the techniques' credibility and the accuracy of her statements. The media then took this magic house of cards and built it into a palace of half-truths and misinterpretation.

To dissect some of the statements made in the story:
* "closest match " is not necessarily a significant match and may include many unrelated men. Let's say I gave you three guesses at a number between 1 and 100; you might guess 2, 10 and 23. If the number were 97, 23 would be "closest" but it wouldn't be very close. Many DNA "matches" have no more genealogical significance than that.

* It is a mistake to conclude that a Y-DNA match (even a significant one) to a Robert Fuller of four centuries ago is from any of his descendants; it may be from a descendant of his brother or cousin.

* Moreover, that the perpetrator's surname is Fuller may have a probability of less than 70% and possibly much less. My studies indicate that surnames are associated with Y chromsomes much less strongly than commonly believed.

* "physical characteristics can help detectives narrow their search," - Physical characteristics have nothing to do with Y-DNA, which determines only (so far as is known) a male gender. Physical characteristics are determined by the other 22 chromosome pairs.

There may be worse things than failing to catch a murderer. Among them may be perverting our free society.
-rt_/)

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Response to rt-sails (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 27, 2012, 06:45 PM

2. Thx for the insight

 

Don't know about others. I learned some things.

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Response to rt-sails (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 30, 2012, 08:18 PM

3. Yes, thanks. I have

been stewing about the story ever since I saw it in Ancestry/Genealogy here at DU.

If you ever have any more information about the story or anything related to it, I hope you will post it.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Feb 1, 2012, 05:27 PM

4. Scary

 

Is this legal? Someone named Fuller? Could they use this as probable cause?

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