Tag: Cold Case Files
On November 15, 1990, a 2-year-old boy, Billy Blankenship, was reported to have fallen down the stairs in his babysitter's care in Concordia, Missouri. The sitter, Tawny Sue Gunter, claimed she had put the boy in her basement as she prepared lunch upstairs. The boy suffered a skull fracture and later died. But that wasn't the end of the story.
With the national homicide-clearance rate below 60 percent, the odds are good that eventually a detective—even an excellent one—will run into a dead end: The case that goes cold, that leaves a family grieving without justice and a detective grasping for answers, even after retirement.
Move over fingerprints—an exciting new field of forensics has emerged: DNA phenotyping, where investigators interpret DNA left behind at a crime scene to make predictions about what the perpetrator might look like. We spoke with Ellen Greytak, a bioinformatics expert, to learn more about the use and limitations of this new science.