Skip to comments.Phantom killer was a myth: Police track DNA of a cotton bud maker for two years
Posted on 03/26/2009 11:53:26 AM PDT by LibWhacker
Police in Germany hunted a sinister phantom killer for two years after finding the same DNA at 39 different crime scenes - only to discover that the source was a woman who made the cotton buds used to collect the sample!
The case was one of the most puzzling in recent times. Hundreds of detectives in six specialist committees were set to work hunting the ominous female serial killer.
But there was no progress, despite investigators finding her DNA at so many crime scenes.
The police were stumped. They eventually offered a 300,000 euro reward to find the killer.
It's no surprise the money was never claimed, however, because the so-called phantom killer was a complete myth!
Detectives had apparently been tracking the DNA of a factory worker who packaged cotton buds used by the police to collect samples, according to Stern.de.
Police linked the 'killer' to seven murders.
The most notorious case was in April 2007 in Heilbronn where a 22-year-old policewoman was shot dead and her colleague (25) seriously injured. On the back seat of the police car, detectives found what they thought was DNA from the mysterious killer.
As part of the investigation, 800 previously convicted women were questioned - but there was no match to the sample.
Her DNA was found over and over again: in bottles, tank lids, on bullets and once even on a biscuit!
Traces were found in southern Germany, Austria and France. Thousands of saliva tests were taken but there was still no answer.
In April 2008, detectives ran out of ideas, so an internal inquiry was launched.
And yesterday Bernd Meiners, a spokesman for the public prosecutor's office in Saarbrucken, revealed: There are considerable doubts about the existence of the phantom killer. The DNA has instead been linked to investigation materials.
An employee at the cotton bud manufacturer has apparently been pretty careless!
According to reports, the maker of the buds is a company in Hamburg, with branches in Baden-Wurttemberg and the Saarland as well as Austria and France.
The company has been supplying the police investigators with cotton buds since 2001.
OJ’s gonna be dissapointed.
Almost choked on my bier.
quality control ain’t what it used to be.
her 15 minutes of ‘fame’ sure stink huh?
When I used to ID type convicted felons for entry into the federal CODIS database; one of the FIRST things they did was to get my genetic ID on file.
On the one hand, if any sample ever comes up with my ID it is obviously suspect and as such is thrown out and the original blood sample reanalyzed.
On the other hand, I am now in the federal data base with all the convicted felons.
But on the gripping hand, I don’t plan on any interstate crime sprees where my DNA would be left behind on any murder or rape victims; as I am a law abiding citizen.
how could they not realize? they must have caught people for some of those crimes.
Look out for Prawo Jazdy on the roads.
Those things aren’t machine made? Who knew?
"Oh!, I was supposed to wear these?"
Revenge by framing someone with their DNA is so easy these days.
That's what they all say.
Nice Pournelle reference btw....the gripping hand.
This is a bit disappointing in terms of their failure to account for the possibility of contamination. As a quality engineer, I’d say their problem solving methodology was pretty stunted. There is a point at which they should have sat back in their chairs and said, “OK, now what _other_ explanations could there be for this recurrent, omnipresent DNA being found at all these crime scenes?” A little brainstorming should have got them the answer.
Aw, ya beat me to it. Fiendish woman!
“How likely am I to leave my DNA at any rape and murder scenes?”
I considered the likelyhood to be somewhere between slim and none.
Not just Pournelle, Also Larry Niven (a.k.a. Nevinyrral of the destroying disk).
I bet they'll be running a blank on the cotton buds from now on.
What about your family members or future family members??
Genealogists have used DNA technology for years to identify unknown relatives, and law-enforcement officials have used the technology to identify criminals.
Now those two threads have merged. Today, investigators regularly use partial DNA matches to track down criminal suspects through family members who are already in a DNA databank.
If a close relative of mine is committing murders or rapes I would be proud to know that it was my DNA that helped identify them.
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