SPRING TWP., Pa. – A simple swab of the inside of your cheeks can start to tell a story that goes back, way back.
“They can go back in some cases three or four or even five generations in terms of trying to find a relationship,” said Albert Dallao of ARCpoint Labs in Spring Township.
Dallao said DNA technology, specifically involving cold case criminal investigations, is changing.
“They’re saying the characteristics of this DNA, based on the people we have in our database from that region of the world, the person may look like this,” Dallao said.
Most recently, Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman came forth with a push for new information in a homicide case dating back to 1975. It involves 19-year-old Lindy Sue Biechler, who was fatally stabbed inside her apartment in Manor Township.
DNA left at that scene helped create a profile of a man with dark hair, no freckles and southern European or Middle Eastern ancestry.
“The relationship services have analogies and a huge database they will look into to find common strings of DNA,” Dallao said.
Similar methods were used to catch Raymond “DJ Freez” Rowe, who pleaded guilty in January to killing teacher Christy Mirack in Lancaster County in 1992. Dallao said, initially, he was skeptical of the genealogy testing, but he’s changed his mind.
“As the databases grow and now we are talking some of these databases have 10, 15 million in them, now the relationships they’re finding are becoming pretty common now,” he said.
Dallao said some labs are now testing even more than 23 chromosomes, and he’s keeping an eye on new testing methods and the continued closure of cold cases.
“I’m anxious, number one, to see them catch the person, and number two, I’m fascinated to see how close that face or picture is to the theoretical DNA composition they developed,” he said.