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DNA Tests And Crimes That Shook The World


A new Channel Five TV series, Crimes That Shook the World reveals how much the use of DNA tests in forensics have helped catch some of the worst killers in history. Advances in DNA tests and forensics in general have changed the face of crime. The popularity of fictional TV shows such as CSI Miami demonstrates a morbid fascination with how crimes are solves. The evidence is collated from the crime scene as part of a jigsaw puzzle in the TV plots – and such tests often play a crucial role in solving the mystery.

Solving Crime Scenes with DNA

But in real life, there is a horror and hideous fascination with extreme criminals. One of the criminals featured in the Channel Five series was that of a murderer who raped and killed 48 women in Seattle over 20 years. He was eventually caught and convicted for his crimes because of DNA evidence. The killer would place a stone in his victim’s vagina which preserved his semen – which means DNA samples were taken – the tests matched his profile.

Criminologists Use DNA Tests

DNA tests are commonly used by criminologists working in forensics. Forensic experts use the science of investigation, locating DNA and fingerprints that can provide conclusive proof in a crime scene. Forensic science regularly depends on tests in complex cases to help solve murders – ironically using the building blocks of life.

Effectiveness of DNA Analysis

More criminals are aware of the effectiveness of tests and go to extreme lengths to try and cover their tracks. But as DNA tests prove, all physical contact leaves a trail of evidence behind from stray hairs and clothing fibres to fingerprints.

Serial Killers Strike

The Seattle rapist and murderer was known as The Green River Killer – Gary Leon Ridgway came from a highly dysfunctional background and was highly religious despite seeing prostitutes by the age of 20. His 48 victims were mostly prostitutes who he raped and strangled before dumping the bodies in the Green River. Although he was a suspect in 1983, it wasn’t until 2001 that DNA tests conclusively linked him with the murders.

In South Africa, Sipho Agmatir Thwala became the most hunted serial killer after killing 16 women. He lured women into cane fields before raping, strangling and burying the bodies. tests were undertaken on DNA samples that had been taken from Thwala several years before the murders when he’d been arrested for rape. The DNA tests matched his DNA that was found on the victims. He was sentenced to 506 years in prison.

More Serial Killer Reading

The case of America’s worst female serial killer has been reopened – the woman who found notoriety for killing Norwegian bachelors. Gory, bloody, ghastly. Scientists in an Indianapolis laboratory plan to use a DNA test to solve the hundred-year mystery. Click here to read the full story.