Federal and state law enforcement officials in Georgia used genealogy DNA to identify both a murder victim and her killer in a 1988 homicide that went unsolved for decades, NPR reports. They say it's the first time the novel but controversial forensic technique that connects the DNA profiles of different family members was used to learn the identities of the victim and the perpetrator in the same case. In March, investigators said they had identified a body found on a Georgia highway in 1988 as Stacey Lyn Chahorski, a Michigan woman who had been missing for more than three decades. For years, authorities were unable to identify the woman, until the GBI and the FBI used genealogy DNA to uncover Chahorski's identity. On Tuesday, investigators said Chahorski had been killed by a man named Henry Fredrick Wise.
Wise, who was also known as "Hoss Wise," was a trucker and stunt driver. His trucking route through Chattanooga and Nashville in Tennessee and Birmingham, Al., would have taken him along the highway where Chahorski's body was found. Wise burned to death in a car accident at South Carolina's Myrtle Beach Speedway in 1999. Though he had had a criminal past, Wise's arrests came before there was mandatory DNA testing after a felony arrest. Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. have begun using genealogy DNA to investigate cold cases, because it allows them to use the similarities in the genetic profiles of family members to identify possible suspects whose specific DNA isn't in any police database.