Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $533,200)
The Tulsa Police Department (TPD) has proposed a funding request for the Cold Case DNA Project (CCDP), which aims to use forensic genetic genealogy identification to identify suspects in cold cases involving violent homicides, rapes, and missing persons. TPD will prioritize cold cases, create a DNA profile database, and conduct follow-up investigations to assist in prosecuting suspects. The project's primary objective is to identify potential suspects, prosecute them, and provide closure to the victim’s loved ones.
The CCDP is a collaborative effort between TPD and the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office (TCDA). The project aims to eliminate any reasonable doubt regarding a suspect's guilt and generate cases to prosecute successfully. To achieve this, TPD will create an extensive database of records and materials for research purposes. TPD will advance racial equity and support to underserved communities, to benefit citizens of Tulsa, particularly those in marginalized areas of the city.
The service area for the project is the City of Tulsa (CoT), the second-largest municipality in Oklahoma, with a population of approximately 402,742 as of 2020. Despite TPD's best efforts, over 300 CoT homicides fall into the “Cold Cases” category or unsolved homicides, where all significant investigative leads have been exhausted. The project will also include sexual assaults and missing person cases that indicate a strong possibility of foul play, with family members and loved ones searching for answers and justice for these crimes.
The purpose of the proposal is to discover viable biological evidence through exhaustive review and forensic analysis. The project activities will identify DNA profiles that can be entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), potentially leading to a match and identifying
previously unknown suspects. The expected outcome of this project will be to increase the number of prosecutions by their Cold Case Unit and reduce the number of unresolved violent crime cold cases within the CoT.
In summary, the CCDP is a collaborative effort between TPD and TCDA that aims to utilize forensic genetic genealogy identification to solve cold cases involving violent homicides, rapes, and missing persons. TPD will prioritize cold cases, create a DNA profile database, and conduct follow-up investigations to assist in prosecuting suspects. The project aims to eliminate reasonable doubt regarding a suspect's guilt and provide closure to victims' loved ones while benefiting Tulsa’s citizens.