In a notable development in forensic science, Toronto law enforcement officials have successfully resolved a longstanding homicide case from 1982 using advanced DNA analysis and genetic genealogy techniques.

The victim, a 47-year-old art dealer, was discovered with fatal stab wounds in his apartment on Sheppard Avenue East near Markham Road. Initially witnessed entering his residence two days prior to the discovery of his body, he had missed a dinner engagement, prompting a welfare check by the police.

The investigation, led by Detective Sergeant Steve Smith of the cold case unit, revealed that the victim was involved in the art business and lived alone, with no known criminal ties. Significant clues emerged when items such as the victim’s car and credit card were found to be stolen and used during the time of his murder. The breakthrough in the case came with the re-examination of evidence using modern forensic methods, which identified a male DNA profile distinct from the victim’s.

In a collaborative effort with a private lab in 2022, Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG) techniques pinpointed William Taylor as the suspect. Despite Taylor’s subsequent demise in May 2023, the innovative use of IGG and traditional police methods confirmed his identity as the perpetrator.

Detective Smith noted that Taylor, an American who had lived briefly in the same building as the victim, appeared to have planned a robbery which tragically escalated to murder. While Taylor’s death precludes a trial, the resolution provides closure to the victim’s family.

The successful resolution of the Toronto cold case exemplifies the growing significance of genetic genealogy in solving long-standing crimes. This approach has been instrumental in other cases as well, such as the Myers Park rapist case in Charlotte. In the 1990s, this series of sexual assaults caused widespread fear, but the perpetrator remained unidentified for decades. The use of DNA and genealogy recently led to the identification of David Edward Doran as the suspect, despite his lack of any previous connection to the 15 victims.

These case underscore how genetic genealogy is revolutionizing the way law enforcement approaches and solves cold cases.

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  • Kevin Mcbride: globalnews