DNA databases

From a comment thread in response to familial DNA information, no reason this shouldn’t be out in the open:

The family of Lindsey Nicholls, her sister Kim and her mother Judy Peterson, say they’re still looking for answers into her 1993 disappearance. (CBC)

If I remember correctly, there is a dna database for unsolved homicides. There is also a dna database for sexual offenders. So the trick of it is to get these two databases to talk to each other. Complicating matters is the issue of missing persons, I believe in Canada it is not yet legal to collect familial dna in these instances to potentially match against unidentified human remains ( although many have been fighting for this for over 20 years).

Ultimately it is a garbage in / out issue. Police agencies are not very good at loading dna from victims into the database, nor are they diligent about checking for matches. This is one – of several – reasons often cited for why the homicide clearance rate in Canada has not dropped in over 50 years despite: 1. improved technology and 2. an overall drop in the number of homicides / violent crime. (I believe the Canadian homicide clearance rate has hovered around 85% as a national average for the last 5 decades.)…

and of course, the Quebec clearance rate is about 10% lower… because Quebec criminal investigators are buffoons.

The whole issue is (another) travesty of Canadian criminal justice. 

 I remember being at a conference in Canada in… 2003? and hearing a presentation by Judy Peterson, mother of Lindsey Nicolls who disappeared in 1993. Judy had done all the leg work. The government named the databank item “Lindsey’s Law” (which they always do, and is kind of degrading: name the legislation after a victim to make it look like they care about them), but then of course the item got tabled or something, governments changed… There’s Judy Peterson waiting 25 years for answers…

The excuses I’ve heard are: No one wants to pay for it, and no one at the RCMP has put in the time to figure out just exactly how the thing would work.



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