• DNA Evidence

    DNA evidence was brought up when I took the mandatory classes for becoming a private investigator in Oklahoma. This subject caught my attention because it’s the gold standard for proving or disproving some cases. I was also wondering at the same time, as a private investigator, what I can I do with DNA evidence? Well, the truth is: Not much at all.

    Sure, I could collect DNA evidence for a paternity case, but you really don’t need a private investigator to get that done. You might need a private investigator in a paternity case if you can’t locate one of the parties the court ordered to submit DNA. At that point it becomes a missing person or skip tracing case and I would be of value to you.

    If I were to collect DNA evidence I have no way to run it through a criminal database, so that doesn’t help me. If I collect DNA evidence for a case and I need to match it to a suspect I need to get a sample of that suspect’s DNA for comparison. The odds of that happening are pretty low, image someone willingly submitting to giving a DNA sample in this day and time. There’s another scenario that comes to mind also – what if I have a DNA sample from a criminal or civil case and I manage to get a sample from a suspect? Let’s say I collect the suspects toothbrush, a glass they drank out of, or maybe a tissue they used and it’s a match, is this admissible in court? Maybe if a good lawyer can argue to the case, but it’s going to be extremely difficult. I will have to prove chain of custody, the sample wasn’t tampered with or contaminated, and it was collected using sound forensic procedure.

    All those obstacles aside, imagine what’s involved with getting DNA analyzed. I recently had my own DNA analyzed to determine my haplogroup (the origin of my paternal side) and it took about 4 months and the cost was around $250.00. That test wasn’t even close to the type of test you would need for a civil or criminal case. DNA analysis ┬áis an expensive and lengthy process, unlike what you see on television.

    DNA Investigations

    The bottom line is that a private investigator can collect and use DNA evidence in your case, but it will be costly and time consuming.

  • 1 comment

    In hindsight I've changed my position on this post. According to a team of researchers, led by professor Manfred Kayser of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, a new forensic test can predict both the hair and eye color of a possible suspect using DNA at a crime scene. The team said it could provide valuable leads in cases where suspects cannot be identified through DNA profiling.This could narrow down the list of suspects somewhat and a private investigator could have a DNA sample tested at an independent lab. So yes, DNA evidence is a good option in some cases.