Thanks to the examination of DNA acquitted a man who served 20 years for murder, which he did not commit
Investigative genealogy has repeatedly helped to solve violent crimes that were once “cold cases” and allowed the police to arrest dozens of murderers and rapists.
Now, DNA testing and investigative genealogy helped to remove all charges against Idaho resident Christopher Tapp in the murder and rape of 18-year-old Angie Dodge in 1997.
Tapp was the first illegally convicted person to be acquitted by this method. Now experts in this new field are saying that their research could lead to the release of other innocent convicts.
“It’s a new life, a new beginning,” Christopher Tapp said Wednesday outside the Idaho falls courthouse, where he was officially cleared of all charges.
Tapp spent 20 years behind bars after confessing to the murder of Angie Dodge. But his confession, according to lawyers, was simply “knocked out” by the investigation.
Group Idaho Innocence project’s took the case TEPP back in 2007 and, after exhausted other possibilities, was able to force law enforcement agencies to check the DNA found at the crime scene.
Idaho falls police then brought in Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA analysis company and its lead genealogist, CECE Moore, to use genealogical sites and hunt down the real killer.
In 2017, TEPP was cleared of rape charges after Idaho Innocence project’s proved in court that the DNA from the crime scene did not match the DNA of the convicted person.
However, the murder charge remains.
And in may 2019, using a 22-year-old “degraded” DNA sample from the crime scene and investigative genealogy, police announced that they had found the man behind the brutal murder.
Brian Lee Dripps, who once lived on the same street as Angie Dodge, confessed to the murder, and his DNA matched the original profile of the suspect.
According to CECE Moore’s genealogist, the sample she was working with degraded greatly, and when she ran it through the public GEDmatch database, she found only distant family connections, but continued the search. To reach Brian Lee Dripps managed through his second cousin.
On Wednesday, Christopher Tapp was officially acquitted in court.