• 9 Investigates: Controversial DNA search denied in 30-year cold case

    By: Karla Ray


    LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - Lake County investigators are looking for new options to identify a person at center of a 30-year-old cold case.


    It comes after a request to do a controversial DNA search was denied.


    The Lake County Sheriff’s Office admits it was on the wrong track in the case for nearly three decades, because when investigators found the body in 1988, they thought the person was born a woman. 


    In 2015, new technology helped investigators realize that the person was actually born male.


    “It pains me to know she’s been in a lab, for 30 years, unidentified,” Sgt. Tammy Dale with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office told 9 Investigates. 


    Her unit wanted to try to identify the person, who they call "Julie Doe,” with the help of a rare familial DNA search.


    >>> Read other 9 Investigates stories <<<


    DNA from the unidentified remains would have been compared to close matches in the Federal Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, database to find possible relatives to the person who was left to die and never claimed.


    “I think she deserves that, and I think her family, wherever they are, deserves to know what happened to their family member,” Dale said.


    Read: 9 Investigates controversial test that could ID cold-case victim


    Florida is one of only a few states that allow the search, and some have raised questions about privacy rights of family members who may have nothing to do with a potential crime. 


    FDLE listed those privacy concerns, along with agency resources and the fact that there is only speculation that "Julie Doe" died in a violent crime as the reason for denying the search.

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