O'Keefe said there are about 160,000 names in Wisconsin's data bank, and about 10 million names nationwide. Getting hits that link offenders to unsolved crimes is a "pretty regular occurrence," he said, noting that for every 1,000 names uploaded into the data bank, 40 percent will result in a hit in the forensic database. Those hits are for all crimes, not just murders,. Nike Air Max 95 Size 2
"DNA opens a lot of doors," Air Max 95 Red And Blue
"STR testing was a major upgrade," O'Keefe said. "We could get (results) with a much smaller amount of DNA. Before, a root of hair pulled from a suspect wouldn't do anything with (less refined forms of DNA testing). With STR, you can do it."
"We go into this cautious, but optimistic, that we will make progress," Mack said. "What they found 50 years ago, we can use today."O'Keefe said DNA testing is the No. 1 reason cold cases are getting solved.
Matz said the sheriff's department is preparing to send evidence from the Pratt case to the state Crime Lab Air Max 180 On Feet
That assessment is shared by Brian O'Keefe, administrator of law enforcement services for the Wisconsin Department of Justice.
As the quality of DNA testing improved, databases of criminal offenders and forensic data expanded, creating more opportunities for investigators to crack unsolved cases.
"What we need to do is send the best pieces of evidence," Matz said. "There were suspects in the case, but there was no way at that point to link them (to the crime). Now, our best shot is with the DNA evidence."
prosecution involving DNA evidence in Wisconsin is believed to be the 1989 case involving a Milwaukee man who was convicted of killing elderly women. In the Fox Valley, the first case using DNA analysis was in 1992, when Winnebago County prosecutors used it to get a life sentence for Kelly Coon in the 1991 kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of 2 year old Amy Breyer.
Sources: Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice
O'Keefe said the first successful Air Max Purple And Pink
changer in bringing killers in decades
"DNA gives law enforcement a tool we have never had before," he said. "It's such a powerful tool. It can bring justice to a family who has lost somebody."
What is DNA testing?
Matz's optimism is due to DNA testing, which wasn't on the radar screen when Pratt, 24, was killed on June 13, 1963. DNA burst onto the scene in the late 1980s and has been a remarkably effective tool for investigators.
"We will continue until the ends of justice have been met."
Capt. David Mack of the sheriff's department said the passage of five decades since Pratt's murder doesn't mean it can't be solved.
for DNA testing. The evidence will include dried blood from "different pieces of evidence" found at the crime scene, he said. The evidence has been in dry storage.
But in the half century since the vicious attack, no arrests have been made and no charges have been filed. It is among the coldest of the cold cases in state crime annals. They think the 50 year old crime can be solved. And it's not wishful thinking, current sheriff John Matz said.
The Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS, is an electronic database of DNA profiles that can identify suspects. It is similar to the AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) database. Perpetrators' DNA profiles are entered into a database and DNA profiles from a crime scene can be entered into CODIS.
"Databases became more robust. More names mean more hits," O'Keefe said.
But with the advent of short tandem repeats (STR) testing in recent years, much smaller samples can be tested.
In the early stages of DNA analysis, a quarter to half dollar size spot of blood was needed to develop a reliable DNA profile, O'Keefe said. "There were limits on technology."
Former Winnebago County Sheriff Richard T. 41 between Neenah and Oshkosh.
The ever evolving technology which has made it possible to identify potential suspects with the smallest amounts of biological evidence has given new life to investigations that were stymied for decades.
"You always get the case that can be solved by someone coming forward 30 to 40 years (after a murder), but that is rare," he said. "As the system becomes more developed, it's possible to get something useable (from old evidence). The technology is getting better all the time."
DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the fundamental building block for an individual's genetic makeup. A person's DNA is the same in every cell, meaning the DNA in a man's blood is the same as the DNA in his skin, cells, semen and saliva. It is a powerful tool because each person's DNA is different from every other individual's, except for identical twins. DNA collected from a crime scene can either link a suspect to the evidence or eliminate a suspect.
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