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Case Closed: DNA used to solve 1971 homicide of Rita Curran

Season of Justice is proud to play a small part in Burlington PD’s solving of the Rita Curran homicide. In 2021, we provided funding assistance for advanced DNA testing on some items collected at the scene in 1971 that confirmed the results of Forensic Genetic Genealogy research. This case stood apart from so many cold cases simply because investigators first on the scene had the foresight to collect and preserve evidence that became extremely valuable as technology advanced. “With the stellar work of the genealogists at Parabon, the DNA analysts at DNA Labs Intl., and the Burlington PD, solving Rita’s homicide was a collaborative effort,” said Brad Schleppi, executive director. Unfortunately, advanced DNA testing methods, like forensic genetic genealogy, are expensive and out of reach for most investigative agencies, especially in cold cases. Season of Justice exists to bridge that funding gap by raising money to cover the costs of advanced DNA testing for cold cases. We wanted to give people a direct way to connect and positively impact the unsolved cases they hear about on podcasts and TV, and our donors have done precisely that. Since the organization’s founding in 2020, Season of Justice has been fortunate enough to fund nearly $940,000 in over 125 cases. As a result of that funding, we’ve now seen 4 cold cases solved, with several in the final stages of their investigation. Seeing an unsolved case like Rita’s brought to resolution is why our team is so passionate about our mission. We want to extend our deepest gratitude to the Burlington PD investigators and Rita’s family for allowing us to share this day with them.

Watch the full press conference below.