published Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

DNA and 17 mysterious rapes

The crime of rape involves a horrible invasion of person. That horror was compounded in a chain of attacks — possibly now solved — that were committed over several years and throughout an extended geographic area.

Investigators have arrested a suspect in a series of sexual attacks on 17 victims — over 14 years, and in locations ranging from Connecticut to Virginia!

The key to solving the case, they say, was a cigarette the suspect discarded after appearing in court on a charge of stealing a bicycle. On it they found DNA, short for a hard-to-pronounce term: “Deoxyribonucleic acid.” (Now you know why people generally refer to it simply as DNA.) Police say it matched DNA found after some of the attacks.

DNA contains a life “blueprint” code that differs among individuals, much as fingerprints differ. So police seeking to solve all sorts of crimes often resort to checking DNA evidence.

It may be the key to exonerating some potential suspects — or providing proof for conviction if a suspect and the DNA evidence match.

Human life and the knowledge of it are amazing things!

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