SEXUAL ASSAULT COLD CASE EVALUATION 8
SexualAssault Cold Case Evaluation
SexualAssault Cold Case Evaluation
Sexualassault cold casesreferto lawsuits of people who have experienced offenses of this naturebut have not been solved yet. In many cases, the police usetechnology to settle them, but they do not always solve the puzzle.Although they may take long, they remain on the list ofinvestigation. Recently, there was the establishment of a cold caseand the evidence backlog team, which specializes in sexual assault atthe Bureau of Investigation was involved. The cold case involvingJennifer Bastian is a clear revelation of many other prosecutionsthat may not have been settled up to date due to the lack of reliableevidence that can assist in declaring a suspect.
TheCold Case of Jennifer Marie Bastian
Jenniferleft for a bicycle ride and never came back, and from then wentmissing for 28 days before she was found raped and murdered. Thepolice collected DNA samples and were taken to the lab to trace anymatches. The crime was similar to one of Michella Welch, who, a fewmonths earlier, had disappeared while on a bike riding home (Alice,2016). On top of that, her body was found the same day after beingraped and murdered. The two cases happened in 1986 and they havenever been resolved.
Oneof the conclusions that the police had is that the two girls weremurdered by the same person. There are several reasons they believeit is the same suspend including the following:
The crime took place in the same area but a few months apart.
During the time of each of the crimes’ occurrence, the victims were riding a bicycle.
The two girls were around the same age leading to the conclusion that the suspect was someone targeting a particular age (Alice, 2016).
Most importantly, both victims were sexually assaulted.
There were traces of similar disturbances on the clothes they were wearing.
• Thetwo victims had similar physical traits, such as the hair and thecolor of the eyes.
Unfortunately,despite there being available DNA samples, the two cases have notbeen solved.
Afterinvestigations, the police came up with a profile, which could leadto the arrest of the suspect. One of the descriptions of the personis that he lived in the north end area of Tacoma (Alice, 2016). Thereis also the probability that he was not a permanent resident. On thecontrary, he may have come visiting the area. Furthermore, he had adisheveled appearance, which may have been caused by family issuessince he must have been living outdoors. According to the police, hemay have been living in the wooded areas during the time of the twocrimes. Moreover, he is familiar with the trails in the north andthe woods.
Mostimportantly, the way he moved around revealed about his motion andthe equipment he used to travel. The conclusion by the police wasthat he might have traveled using a bike or on foot. In fact, thatmade it easy for him to attack the two girls who were both on abicycle. While moving around, he may have carried a knife with him.It is the same weapon used to threaten his victims.
Besides,the suspect’s psychological status was questionable and the policebelieve that he had mental health problems. Indeed, that may havecaused him to have trouble with his family and also engage in theaggressive behavior (Alice, 2016). It also explains why the policebelieve that the suspect had trouble getting and holding on toemployment. Therefore, these were some of the aspects that ought tohave been considered in tracing the suspect.
Inthe two assaults, there was the collection of forensic evidence. Thatbeing said, among the evidence collected, there was no recording offingerprints. However, some hair was collected at the scene to aid inforensic investigation. In sexual assault cases, there is also thesearch for body fluids, such as blood, which may be present due tothe struggle between a victim and the suspect (Hess& Haas, 2016).Sexual fluids also form an important part of forensics. Althoughthere was no blood sample of the suspect collected at the site of theoffense, sexual fluids were present on the two suspects.
Thetwo crimes happened at different times. Therefore, the forensicevidence was collected and analyzed distinctively. In the case ofMichella, the blood sample and other body fluids were taken to thelaboratory and analyzed. The victim was dead and so could not help inthe identification of the suspect. The only option that theauthorities had was to try and match the results of the DNA to thatof the available database (Alice, 2016). Unfortunately, there was nomatch and there was not reliable evidence that could lead to thearrest of the suspect.
Inthe case of Jennifer, it took long to have her body recovered. Infact, her body was only found almost a month after she was killed.After the collection of the evidence, it was taken to the laboratoryfor analysis. Just like in the first case, there was noidentification of the witness. Consequently, the results werecompared to the database and there was no match.
Conclusionsby the Police
Theconclusion by the police is that the suspect may be of unsound mind.It is also probable that the murderer was not a permanent resident ofthe area and may have left during the period of investigation.Therefore, they have not traced him up to date.
Theforensic field has attracted extensive growth over the years withregards to technological advancement. In effect, that makes it easyto track criminals using the new methods of forensics (Lockett,Mirica, Mace, Blackledge, & Whitesides, 2013).Some of the areas that can help track the suspect may include thefollowing:
Oneof the things that miss in the cases of the two are the fingerprints.Unlike DNA samples, fingerprints are an easier way of trackingsuspects. In a crime scene, the magnetic fingerprinting technologyallows investigators to get impressions of fingerprints on anysurface including dust (Neumann& Saunders, 2015).There is also technological advancement that enables automatedfingerprint identification. Besides, that makes it easy to match theidentified sample to the available database. Additionally, it reducesthe amount of time taken in finding and apprehending the criminal.Moreover, it helps to reduce the amount of resources used in theinvestigation (Lockettet al., 2013).
Fora long time, DNA profiling has been used in investigations. However,it does not always give positive results. The hair, skin, and bodyfluid samples are the main sources of information. Nevertheless, suchevidence becomes degraded where it has taken time before thediscovery of the crime (Buckleton,Bright, & Taylor, 2016).The case of Jennifer is one where it is not always applicable to usethe profiling method. In such a case, using the DNA sequencer makesit easy to identify the suspect. The approach is powerful and helpsin tracking the suspect. However, in this method, it is necessary tohave a suspect. The collected information is later matched to that ofthe offender. Each person has a particular pattern, and, therefore,it is easy to identify if the person is the criminal (Buckleton,Bright, & Taylor, 2016).Therefore, the method helps make the work easy once a suspect is incustody.
Itis a method, which is used to get the facial appearance of a suspectas well as the victim. On that note, it is applicable in cases wherethe suspect is not known. 3D facial reconstruction is also known in acase where the victim may be disfigured. The application of thetechnique would help identify the suspect in these two cases.
Thealternative light photography technology helps determine how muchdamage the victim may have suffered. Primarily, looking at the victimmay not reveal much. However, the use of this technique helpsestablish the extent of the damage to the skin and other parts of thebody (Peterson,Hickman, Strom, & Johnson, 2013).That discovery is important in helping to establish what transpiredbetween the victim and the suspect. The technique could be useful inthe two cases to determine several things. One of them is theidentification of all the injuries. A similarity in the two suspectscould easily point to the suspect being the same person. At the sametime, it could reveal the struggle, which took place. It is importantas it could disclose whether the suspect had a weapon (Petersonet al., 2013).The struggle could be less when there is a weapon due to the fear ofthe victim. On the other hand, if there is no weapon, the victim canput up a struggle and that could result in injury.
Theapplications of the above methods could have changed the outcome ofthe two case in different ways. One of them is the use of themagnetic fingerprinting, where having the evidence of thefingerprints could have made it easier to track down the suspect.Facial reconstruction is another way, which could have helped trackdown the suspect. Additionally, the use of DNA sequencing is moreanalytical and conclusive. It also takes less time, and, therefore,could have helped apprehend the suspect.
ForensicEvidence and Empirical Studies
Empiricalstudies have a certain procedure that they follow. One of them isthat they seek to answer a particular question or a set. There isalso a phenomenon, which each of the forensic investigation seeks tostudy. In this case, they seek to answer a criminal case. In each ofthe forensic methods, there is a particular procedure, which must befollowed that makes it possible to replicate and use elsewhere(Petersonet al., 2013).Furthermore, it has an explanation of the results meaning that it issupported by empirical studies.
Inall aspects, forensic evidence would pass the Daubert standards. Allthe methods have been peer-reviewed, and they meet all the scientificmethods. Moreover, there are specific requirements as to those whowould conduct the investigation and testify. The educationalrequirements also meet part of the Daubert standards.
Allin all, it can be concluded that in the past, it has been difficultto break through some cases. Such cases have been labeled as cold.However, with the availability of new methods of investigations, suchas the use of forensics, it has made it possible to break throughsuch cases. It will shape the way cases are investigated and settled,which will, in turn, lead to a reduction of crimes.
Alice. (2016). The cold case of Jennifer Marie Bastian. Retrievedfromhttp://www.defrostingcoldcases.com/the-cold-case-of-jennifer-marie-bastian/
Buckleton, J. S., Bright, J. A., & Taylor, D. (Eds.). (2016). Forensic DNA evidence interpretation. New York, NY: CRC press.
Hess,S., & Haas, C. (2016). Recovery of trace DNA on clothing: Acomparison of mini‐tapelifting and three other forensic evidence collectiontechniques. Journalof Forensic Sciences.
Lockett,M. R., Mirica, K. A., Mace, C. R., Blackledge, R. D., &Whitesides, G. M. (2013). Analyzing forensic evidence based ondensity with magnetic levitation. Journalof Forensic Sciences, 58(1),40-45.
Neumann,C., & Saunders, C. P. (2015). Commentary on: Alberink I, de JonghA, Rodriguez C. Fingermark evidence evaluation based on automatedfingerprint identification system matching scores: the effect ofdifferent types of conditioning on likelihood ratios. J Forensic Sci2014 59 (1): 70–81. Journalof Forensic Sciences, 60(1),252-256.
Peterson,J. L., Hickman, M. J., Strom, K. J., & Johnson, D. J. (2013).Effect of forensic evidence on criminal justice caseprocessing. Journalof Forensic Sciences, 58(s1).