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New DNA Technology Helps Indiana State Police Solve Cold Case

With funding from Season of Justice, the Indiana State Police assist the Scott Co. Sheriff’s Office in solving a 29-year-old sexual assault case using new DNA technology. 

Scott County, IN, January 2024 – Season of Justice is honored to have the opportunity to assist the Indiana State Police and the Scott Co. Sheriff’s Office with funding that enabled them to identify the suspect in an attempted homicide, assault, and robbery case from May 1995. With advancements in forensic technology, there’s a renewed hope for answers in the most complex cases, but access to that technology is expensive and often out of reach for agencies. Season of Justice was able to fund the testing and research conducted by Parabon NanoLabs Indiana State Police needed to close this case thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Read the official press release from ISP below.

Indiana State Police Press ReleaseRecently, a suspect in a nearly 29-year-old Attempted Murder Cold Case was identified using advanced DNA technology known as familial DNA. In May 1995, Investigators from the Indiana State Police and Scott County Sheriff’s Office investigated an attempted murder, assault, and robbery that occurred at a rural Scott County residence. Evidence, including DNA evidence, was collected when the case was initially investigated. Numerous leads were followed at the time, with no clear suspects being identified.

With the advancement in DNA technology, the collected DNA was entered into the national DNA database in August of 2000. This resulted in no matches to known individuals being found. In 2018, the use of familial DNA was being used as the latest investigative tool in cases where a DNA sample had been collected of an unidentified and unknown suspect. This technique involves comparing the DNA sample against databases of known individuals to look for family members of potential suspects. When a family member is identified, investigators can use investigative tools and genealogy to identify a suspect.

The familial DNA testing was completed in August 2023 by Parabon Laboratories with funding from Season of Justice, a non-profit group that assists law enforcement in solving unsolved violent crimes. A close family relative of a suspect was initially identified by this DNA testing. An exhaustive investigation was then carried out by detectives, lab analysts, intelligence analysts, and well-known genealogist CeCe Moore to finally identify a suspect months later.

Once a potential suspect was identified, further investigative techniques and testing was conducted to confirm the results. The suspect was in his early 30s when the crime occurred. The investigation determined that he lived near the scene of the crime when the crime occurred and was able to be connected to the victim in the case through subsequent interviews and investigation. Investigators learned that the suspect moved out of state after the crime occurred and later died in 2003. Indiana State Police Detective Lieutenant Delmer Gross, Detectives Matt Busick and Brian Busick, along with former Scott County Sheriff John Lizenby and Detective Rick Barrett worked closely together to bring this nearly 30-year-old case to a conclusion. Investigators also remained in close contact with the Scott County Prosecutor’s Office throughout the case and had the prosecutor’s office review the results of the investigation.

While no charges are able to be filed in this case, investigators are pleased to be able to bring this case to a close. This case was solved due to the work of skilled investigators, the cooperation of professionals with expertise in a number of areas, and the latest DNA technology.

*It is the policy of the Indiana State Police to not name potential suspects unless and until formal charges are filed. Therefore, the suspect’s identity will not be released.*