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Michigan Cold Case Team

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $533,200)

The Michigan State Police (MSP) will establish an interdisciplinary team of law enforcement and forensic scientists to systematically evaluate cold case homicides and select candidate cases for advanced DNA testing. Together, the 1st, 3rd, and 5th District cold case investigation teams and the MSP Forensic Science Division will conduct an investigative evaluation to determine what case work can and should be done on each case. In particular, MSP will use advanced DNA testing methodologies to identify unknown DNA profiles to revitalize cold case homicide investigation. To do this, MSP will either (1) conduct DNA analysis for routine and degraded samples or (2) leverage existing contract agreements to outsource DNA samples for specific cases where familial genetic analysis is appropriate, like forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) where advanced SNP or WGS is required. Results will be used for (1) comparison purposes or (2) utilization of FGG services to track down family references via AncestryDNA, 23andMe, FamilyTree DNA, and GEDmatch to find potential investigative leads. If a family match is made, investigators will gather suspect reference samples for testing, ensuring that MSP does not falsely accuse a suspect in an unsolved cold case. As a result, these data will open new doors in the selected investigations, promoting additional police work that will ultimately lead to cold case homicide prosecution. To this end, MSP will hire a grant funded criminal intelligence analyst to assist investigators with conducting case research, following up on new investigative leads, and preparing the selected cases for prosecution. These cases will be given expedited review through an established relationship with the Michigan Attorney General’s Office (AGO). In sum, the proposed project will systematically take cold case homicides through case assessment, DNA testing, investigation, and prosecution.

Date Created: September 14, 2023