October 8, 2015 |
ONE DAY IN JULY, police in Bensalem, Bucks County, interrupted a burglary in progress and caught two suspects. Eleven days later and 10 miles north, someone threw a rock through a window to get into a Falls Township home and steal three handguns. In the past, investigators might have been hard-pressed to solve the second break-in, let alone link it to the first. But thanks to a new countywide, multijurisdictional DNA database, cops had cracked both cases within weeks, after finding DNA evidence at the Falls burglary that proved the Bensalem baddie was behind both crimes.
October 7, 2015 |
In what officials say is the nation's first such countywide effort, Bucks County police departments announced Tuesday that they have created a database of DNA samples collected from accused or suspected criminals. The mouth swabs for the database are collected on a voluntary basis, with police requesting them from those who have been arrested or from suspects. The aim is to catch criminals who often fly under the radar of national and state DNA databases, which contain the genetic material of more hardened felons and sex offenders forced to submit DNA samples.
September 24, 2015 |
It's been three years since two masked gunmen shot and killed Nafis Armstead and wounded another man in East Mount Airy. And a year has gone by since 22-year-old Brian Tootle was found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole in the death of Armstead, 23. On Tuesday, a Philadelphia judge ordered Aka Jones, 24, to be tried after a prosecutor said Jones' DNA had been found on a discarded gun used in the shooting and his...
September 11, 2015 |
WHEN A MONSTER snatched her beautiful teenage daughter off the street, raped, beat and strangled her and then left her like trash in a vacant Kensington house, a homicide investigator warned 17-year-old Anjeanette Maldonado's mourning family that bringing her killer to justice could take time. "The first detective told me: 'You're going to have to wait. You have to be patient.' I thought he meant next week," Anjeanette's mother Paulette Smith, 59, said yesterday. Now, nearly 19 years after Anjeanette was murdered on her walk to school, Smith's long wait for justice has ended.
September 10, 2015 |
In 1944, before anyone knew what DNA looked like, a young graduate student sought to learn more about genetic mutations by irradiating 50,000 bacteria with ultraviolet light. Most of the cells in Evelyn M. Witkin's petri dishes died in the process. But four were somehow resistant, and her subsequent insights would prove fundamental in helping the world understand how living things protect themselves from radiation and DNA damage. On Tuesday, Witkin, 94, was honored with a prestigious Lasker award for her long career, the last decades of which took place at Rutgers University.
August 25, 2015 |
When Kareem Johnson killed Walter Smith outside a North Philadelphia nightclub, prosecutors said, he shot him at such close range that Smith's blood splashed onto Johnson's red Air Jordan baseball cap. That cap helped convict him. "That hat that was left at the scene in the middle of the street has Kareem Johnson's sweat on it and has Walter Smith's blood on it," Assistant District Attorney Michael Barry told jurors. "DNA is a witness. It is a silent, unflappable witness. " But he was wrong.
July 23, 2015 |
Officials from West Chester - both the university and the borough - are betting on something scientific to help ward off the divisions that have separated communities grappling with the resurgent issue of race. They are looking to DNA. In a new initiative called "One University, One Ancestry," the school will offer DNA testing to students, staff, faculty, and community members. They hope it will not only give participants insight into the origins of their ancestors, but awaken them to shared experiences and backgrounds revealed by a closer look at the gene pool.
July 16, 2015 |
For centuries, dog lovers have been asking their pooches to sit and stay. These days, more owners are adding: Who's your daddy? The increasing options to administer DNA tests for dogs (and to a lesser extent, cats) answers the call of curiosity, sure, but the tests that reveal your mutt's family tree also can help vets better diagnose disease and manage lifestyle issues like exercise, diet, and behavior problems. At the very least, the tests - now more accurate than the ones first introduced to consumers about eight years ago - allow owners to know how big the dog they adopted at six months likely will be at six years.
February 8, 2015 |
An expert medical panel has endorsed using a DNA test as an alternative, not just an add-on, to the venerable Pap smear for cervical cancer screening. But the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which had a representative on the panel, says the new screening approach is premature. The ob/guns' group continues to recommend either Pap smears or "co-testing" using the Pap and DNA tests. The DNA test, called cobas and made by Roche, detects two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV)
January 1, 2015 |
The investigation into a series of rapes in Pennypack Park was years old, and still open, when a man named Robert Palen was arrested in Wisconsin late last year. The 38-year-old, born and raised in Philadelphia, had lived near the park, where three women said they had been abducted, beaten, and raped by a man driving a white work van, in 2010 and 2011. But DNA evidence - found in just one of the cases - never turned up a match, and the trail had grown cold by December 2013, when Palen was arrested and accused of beating, strangling, and raping a Madison, Wis., woman in her home.