6. Mosquito’s blood convicted the thief of a stolen car.
The police found an abandoned car in Finland in 2007. The police investigated the vehicle. They caught a mosquito that looked quite full. It seemed as if it had recently sucked blood. So, they sent the insect for DNA analysis in a laboratory. It matched with the sample of a person in the police register. Additionally, a man had registered a complaint regarding the same stolen car.
When the police tracked the man, they discovered that the car belonged to his friend. However, the man denied all the charges and claimed that he was just hitchhiking with his friend. Finally, in December 2008, the police took the man into custody. (1, 2)
7. The genetic genealogy untangled a forty-year-old case.
A man committed more than 50 rapes and 13 murders in forty years. On a victim’s body, the killer’s semen was found in the 1970s. Police tested the sperm several times. However, they did not find the criminal.
The investigation gained momentum in 2018 when the police employed a new method of DNA analysis. The team added the killer’s DNA sequence to a public database of DNA sequences available on genealogy websites. Based on the DNA sequence, they looked for similar profiles.
They built a family tree with those profiles, and their living relatives were added to the family tree. These relatives were found by tracking birth certificates, marriage certificates, census data, and social media platforms. Finally, the police narrowed down the suspects.
One of the key suspects was Joseph De Angelo. Joseph discarded used tissue in his garbage, and the police collected it. They sent it to the laboratory, and it matched with the semen of the killer. The police arrested the then seventy-four-year-old Joseph. (1, 2)
8. NASA’s robot excavated the evidence for a two-decade-old murder case.
Bernardo Bass murdered his girlfriend in 1991. The victim’s body, the murder weapon, and Bass’s car were never recovered. While the police were sure of the suspect, they had no proof. Ultimately, the court dismissed the case.
Almost two decades later, an informant told police that after the murder, Bass dismantled the car. He had buried the broken pieces somewhere in the nearby area. The area was huge. Therefore, the process of excavating was quite laborious as well as expensive.
The police approached NASA. They sent a robot to map the entire area using magnetic rays. After processing the data, the police were given likely places to excavate. They dug out the broken car parts. In the end, the court sentenced Bass to six years in jail. (1, 2)
9. An unused train ticket decoded the murder of a seven-year-old girl.
Maria Ridulph was seven years old in 1957 when she left her home to meet her friend, Kathy. When both the friends were playing on the street, a man started talking to him. He lured them by giving them gifts. While Kathy returned home, Maria never did. This news created shock waves in their town. Both the police and the media struggled to solve the case.
Five months later, the police found her body. John Tessier, a local resident, was the prime suspect, and he perfectly fit Kathy’s description, but he had an alibi. John claimed that he had gone for an Air Force recruitment test. He traveled by train to Chicago. On his way back home, he called his parents to pick him up. His parents testified to that. The case went cold.
Years later, the case reopened in 2008 when John’s mother uttered these words on her deathbed, “Those two little girls, and the one disappeared… John did it.” The police needed John’s photo to carry out the investigation. Therefore, they asked John’s high-school girlfriend for John’s photo. While taking out the photo from storage, she saw an unused train ticket to Chicago.
This implied that he did not take the train and instead traveled by car. By car, he could have traveled back earlier and committed the murder. Eventually, the police arrested the then seventy-two-year-old John Tessier. He even changed his name to Jack Daniel McCullough to hide his identity. (1, 2)
10. A serial killer mistakenly confessed his crime during a documentary shoot.
Robert Durst, a real estate heir, was a suspected murderer. He first killed his wife, Kathleen McCormack, then a close friend, Susan Berman. Finally, the police arrested him for the murder of his elderly neighbor. However, due to the absence of any proof, he was acquitted.
Robert Durst was featured in a six-part HBO documentary titled The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert made in 2015. The documentary aimed to investigate the three murders, all connected to Robert Durst. During the shooting of the documentary, Robert Durst took a toilet break. While Robert was a smart criminal, he made a mistake. He forgot that his mic was still on. Unknowingly, he mumbled these words, “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course.”
His words were recorded, and police arrested him on the grounds of this statement. During the hearing, the judge saw the documentary. The police requested the judge to give a strict punishment. His trial is still pending in the court. The next hearing will be in April 2021. (1, 2)