A look inside the how DNA is used to identify human remains – WRTV Indianapolis


WESTFIELD — Authorities in Hamilton County are reviving efforts to identify the remains of more than a dozen people found on the former property of notorious serial killer Herbert Baumeister.

Investigators believe at least 25 people fell victim to Baumeister, who police have said lured gay men to his home at Fox Hollow Farms in the mid-80s and 90s and killed them. Baumeister died by suicide shortly after police began their investigation.

To date, 26 years after the discovery of the victims’ bodies, only eight have been identified. That leaves 17 whose identities have yet to be determined.

The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office said Monday that DNA profiling could help identify those people.

“I think a big challenge in this case is having those comparison family reference samples,” Dr. Krista Latham said.

Dr. Krista Latham, Director of the Human Identification Center at the University of Indianapolis, says the lab has worked to help with the recovery of remains from Baumeister’s property.

“Not only do we have these very powerful data bases that allow for those comparisons we. Wouldn’t have had back in the early ’90s but we are also able to generate DNA profiles that wouldn’t have been candidates for DNA analysis in late ’90s,” Dr. Latham said.

In a statement from the center to WRTV it said, the unique challenges associated with this case and the sheer volume of samples created a situation where advances in identification technologies were necessary to attempt the identification of these individuals.

“We have had advances in DNA technology that will allow us to obtain DNA samples from more challenging human remains cases,” Dr. Latham said.

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