Lisa Jensen, Larry Vanner, JED discussed on Unraveled: A Long Island Serial Killer


Episode who embraced genetic genealogy to help solve the 1987 murders of Tanya van kuhnen Borg in Jay cook. In Jed match was a major part of that breakthrough. Jed match was the hub that first made genetic genealogy a widely accessible tool. By allowing users to upload their DNA profile from different ancestry sites into one common database. People could make far more connections than ever before. Paul holes, the investigator who spearheaded the capture of the Golden State killer, and it was also my partner on Jensen and holes, the murder squad, was always impressed with how easy the process is. Jet match is at the Tower of Babel for genealogy. You have these different genealogy testing companies like ancestry dot com, 23andMe, my heritage, family tree DNA. And they have their own proprietary DNA testing that they do. That can't be searched. If I get tested and ancestry dot com, I can not directly search 23andMe. What jet match allows a search across multiple genealogy testing laboratories. Walk me through the process of uploading a sample. Like how long does it take and how expensive was it? This profile, even though it's huge, is a simple text file. So the process of uploading this DNA profile is the same as if you were to upload a photograph into a social media account. It's that easy. To upload into jet match, it was free. You know, and that's one of the amazing things about the website is it was a free service to anybody who wanted to use it. Even better, the testing itself was superior to traditional forensic DNA databases that could only identify very close kin. Like a parent or sibling. Genetic genealogy is based on a completely different type of DNA testing than what we have done traditionally within crime laboratories. They generate a DNA profile that looks at single points. Hundreds of thousands of single points across all the chromosomes within a person's DNA sample. And the more points that an individual shares with another person within a database, the more closely related they are. Initially, genetic genealogy was used to help adoptees connect with their biological parents. But that application soon presented a chance to help law enforcement solve a decades old mystery. What were the uses of genetic genealogy for law enforcement prior to using it to catch killers? The first case that I'm aware of was related to identifying a little girl by the name that we knew as Lisa Jensen. And this was a girl that was abandoned in 1986 down in Santa Cruz, California by an individual who professed to be Larry vanner. Larry vanner, who would later be connected to multiple other aliases, had been raising Lisa Jensen as a single dad when he abandoned her with a couple in a trailer park, and fled when she was just 5 years old. 17 years later, in 2003, he would be convicted of murdering his girlfriend on soon June. It was later confirmed that he wasn't Lisa's biological father. So who then was Lisa Jensen? And where did she come from? Vanner never revealed the truth, and he died in prison in 2010. It would not be until the rise of ancestry technology in the early 2010s that authorities would find an answer with the help of Jed match. Doctor Barbara Rae Venter ended up doing this triangulation method. To identify Lisa Jensen as Don boden, who was a missing girl out of New Hampshire. And that ultimately kind of spiraled into a huge case and huge connections with the bear brook murders, as well as who Larry van or was. Larry vanner was identified eventually as Terry Rasmussen. And he was connected to multiple murders of women and children. It was also confirmed that he had disappeared with Lisa and her mom when Lisa was only 5 months old. To date, her mom has not yet been found. That part of the mystery is yet to be solved. But genetic technology had proven its usefulness in connection with criminal cases. It had rebuilt the biological history of a child who had been abducted and abandoned by a serial killer. Paul holes wanted to know if doctor Barbara ray Venter could use it to find a serial killer who was still on the loose. I reached out and asked, could this tool be used to identify an unknown offender? And she basically said, I see no reason why I couldn't. So Golden State killer was the first time to identify an unknown offender. And the dam broke for law enforcement to utilize the genetic genealogy tool in these unsolved cases. It was like dominoes. Some of the most horrific cases out there start getting solved, utilizing this tool. The identification of Joseph Deangelo as the Golden State killer. Set off a gold rush of investigators hoping to solve other cold cases with this new technique. And it paid immediate dividends. Starting in the spring of 2018 and using Jed match, authorities closed more than 40 cases in the first year alone. And they were barely scratching the surface. Can you walk us through why there were so many solved right at the beginning? They were going after the low hanging fruit. They just focused on those cases that had close enough matches that they could work very quickly. Parabon ended up being in a prime position. To be able to utilize this tool because pair bond had generated this special type of DNA profile in order to do the phenotyping. You know, predict eye color predict hair color. So they reached out to agencies and said, we can do this. You don't even have to send us any more sample. We've already got the profile. We can just convert it and get it uploaded into Jed match. And so that's what they did as they just rapidly started working case after case, tons of cases got solved very, very quickly. Police expected to find the bulk of these crimes, connected to serial offenders that had yet to be identified. The reality was very different. How often was a serial killer presumed responsible for a case that had gone cold that was of a sexual homicide nature. You have a cluster of cases and the assumption is one person's committing all these cases. So when that person's caught and he's convicted of, let's say, one out of the 5 cases. Investigation into the other cases stops because they just assume that person was responsible. And it turns out, well, no. You don't DNA testing has shown. Actually, there is multiple predators at work in this particular area at that moment.

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