Genetic genealogy used to solve 1987 Homicide of Roxanne Wood

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The following release connected to the plea deal in the 1987 rape and homicide case of Roxanne Wood was sent to 95.3 MNC from Gabriella Vargas, DNA-ID Founder & CEO, in conjunction with Michigan State Police, Detective John Moore, and Identifinders International:

A plea deal has been reached in the 1987 Rape and Homicide of Roxanne Wood. On February 18, 2022, Patrick Gilham was arrested and charged with open murder and breaking and entering an occupied dwelling. He has since pled “no contest” to those charges and will face sentencing in April.

On February 20, 1987, Roxanne was enjoying a night out with her husband Terry at a local bowling alley in Niles, MI. Roxanne left the bowling alley around midnight, followed by her husband 45 min later. When Terry arrived home, he found Roxanne unresponsive in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor. He immediately called 911, but soon realized his wife was deceased.

Mrs. Vargas received this case in April of 2021, while consulting for Identifinders, after whole genome sequencing was used to create a genetic profile for the unknown DNA contributor.

Once the profile was created the data was uploaded to GEDmatch and Family Tree DNA, public DNA databases. Family trees of shared matches to the unknown suspect were then built out in an effort to identify common ancestors and ultimately identify the previously unknown DNA contributor.

Prior to Mrs. Vargas’s involvement, this case had been deemed unsolvable, yet she was determined to dispel that theory and took on the challenge. A case that detectives spent 35
years trying to find answers to, took Mrs. Vargas just 4 days to solve. “Don’t let the pink hair fool you, Gabriella is a true pitbull in the world of Genetic Genealogy. One of the best in the world,” said Detective John Moore. “Roxanne’s family gave me the motivation to bring closure to this case and justice for Roxanne.”

Said Mrs. Vargas “When I received the case file, I saw the correspondence from the family, and they never gave up.”

DNA-ID is based in Northern California. We work with law enforcement nationwide to clear the tremendous backlog of unsolved rape, homicide and unidentified remains cases, through a process known as Investigative Genetic Genealogy. It is their mission to bring closure to families and justice to victims of violent crimes.

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1 comment

This Week in Forensic Science - ISHI News March 25, 2022 at 11:34 am

[…] Genetic Genealogy Used to Solve 1987 Homicide of Roxanne Wood (95.3 MNC – 3/21/2022) […]


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