For Immediate Release
May 17, 2018
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Bridgeport Police Release Detailed Composite Image of 1993 Cold Case Homicide Victim; Brought about by New DNA Technology
Officers Used DNA from Badly Burned Female Homicide Victim to Contract with Company to Create Image to Help Identify Victim
BRIDGEPORT, CT – Bridgeport Police Officers today released two detailed composite images they believe are of a female murder victim dating back to a 1993 homicide. The two images below were derived from DNA taken from the victim and used through new technology to create a genealogical profile of the woman found deceased on June 5, 1993. That day, Bridgeport Police discovered a body within a vacant lot located at the intersection of Lafayette Street and Railroad Avenue in the south end of Bridgeport. The body of the deceased was severely burned, and unidentifiable. The Office of the Chief Medical examiner determined cause of death to be the result of a homicide. The victim was determined to be a female with a probable age of 25-35 years old. The case has remained unsolved, and the victim has not been identified.
“In releasing these images, our hope is that someone will recognize the person depicted in the Snapshot composite and contact us.” Said Bridgeport Police Captain Brian Fitzgerald, head of the Detective Bureau. “Although we have some leads in this case, identifying the woman who was murdered will bring our investigators closer to determining what led to the death of this victim. I ask anyone who recognizes the person depicted in these images or anyone who may have information related to this case to contact us at 203-576-TIPS (8477). We are determined to solve this case and bring closure the family of the woman victim.”
Bridgeport Police Department detectives have recently sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia that specializes in DNA phenotyping: the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence. Law Enforcement agencies use the company's Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service to narrow suspect lists and generate leads in criminal investigations.
Using DNA evidence from this investigation, Snapshot produced trait predictions for the associated person of interest. Individual predictions were made for the subject's ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling, and face shape. By combining these attributes of appearance, a Snapshot composite was produced depicting what the victim may have looked like at 25 years old and with an average body-mass index (BMI) of 22. These default values were used because age and BMI cannot be determined from DNA.
It is important to note that Snapshot composites are scientific approximations of appearance based on DNA, and are not likely to be exact replicas of appearance. Environmental factors such as smoking, drinking, diet, and other non-environmental factors- e.g. facial hair, hairstyle, scars, etc.- cannot be predicted by DNA analysis and may cause further variation between the subject's predicted and actual appearance.
The Bridgeport Police Department is the first law enforcement agency in Connecticut to utilize this type of DNA technology in a criminal investigation.