Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Familial DNA leads to Grim Sleeper arrest

  1. Jul 8, 2010 #1

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    Peace for the families of the victims; uneasiness for the ACLU. Some interesting food for thought in this article:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/09/us/09sleeper.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2010 #2
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    I hope that we can live one day without Al Sharpton or the ACLU. Excellent catch by the LAPD.
     
  4. Jul 8, 2010 #3
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    Not very impressive.




    As for the serial killer itself:
    :bugeye:
     
  5. Jul 9, 2010 #4
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    I'm waiting for the follow-up story where the tests are shown to be flawed and they release him. DNA is much better at exonerating people than convicting them.
     
  6. Jul 9, 2010 #5
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    Well, it boils down to this: Who do you fear more, the government or serial killers?

    If I lived in the US I don't know if I would be too sure...
     
  7. Jul 9, 2010 #6
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    After an Oregon attorney was arrested after a "100% match" on his fingerprints to the Madrid bombing, I'm just a little skeptical of forensic evidence providing 100% matches. That starts with the assumption that the DNA fragments tested are 100% unique.

    As far as I can tell, that's a baseless assumption.
     
  8. Jul 9, 2010 #7
    As someone who lives in the US I can say that fear is not the issue. My personal concerns relate to rights and justice in a situation like this. In this case I feel good that justice is being done in stopping this guy. I have a tough time complaining about a marginal invasion of privacy, when people are losing their lives to an animal on the prowl. There is no worse invasion of privacy than murdering someone.
     
  9. Jul 9, 2010 #8
    This is why we have defense attorneys. If they have the right guy, a pile of other evidence should be easily found. The main problem in these cases is generating leads.
     
  10. Jul 9, 2010 #9
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    I'd feel much more comfortable if a pile of other evidence was found.
     
  11. Jul 9, 2010 #10
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    This isn't evidence, this is just a way to get more clues. Also DNA checks are made all the time already, this is just expanding that into seeing if they have some chromosomes with perfect match but others which don't then it is likely that they got a relative who did it.

    This gives a new list of suspects, most which probably can be removed fairly easily. The reason people are against this is because the relatives will then be suspects of things they might have nothing to do with.
     
  12. Jul 9, 2010 #11

    Borg

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    They based the arrest on the man's own DNA. The son's DNA highlighted someone in the family which narrowed the search.

    Police then conducted around-the-clock surveillance of Mr. Franklin, following him as he walked or went on drives, and retrieved a plate and napkin he had thrown away after eating pizza, which provided the DNA match.
     
  13. Jul 9, 2010 #12
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    That was a non-sequitur, Borg. It doesn't matter that they tested his DNA; such tests can be flawed.

    That was my only point, I never claimed they tested somebody else's DNA.

    That's why I hope Klockan is right in saying "this isn't evidence."

    All this DNA proves is that he could be the killer, not that he is.
     
  14. Jul 9, 2010 #13

    Borg

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    There is nothing non-sequitur about attempting to clear up a point.
    Klockan was referring to the son's DNA as not being evidence - not the father's. You say that you didn't claim that someone else's DNA and then back it up with a statement where Klockan is talking about just that. Please excuse me if I have a hard time following your logic.
    No, it doesn't prove that he is the killer but, it does prove that his DNA was at the crime scene. That is pretty powerful circumstantial evidence. Even if they don't find any other evidence, he is going to have a tough time explaining why his DNA is at the scene of multiple murders of people he didn't know.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
  15. Jul 9, 2010 #14

    Ygggdrasil

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    Not necessarily. DNA testing has a non-negligible false positive rate (http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul/20/local/me-dna20). Although the rate is low, the chances of false positives increase as you increase the number of comparisons you perform (for example, as you increase the size of your DNA sample database, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/henryporter/2009/may/25/dna-database-false-positive) and as you relax the criteria for a match (as they must do in order to identify familial DNA matches). These problems are further compounded if one of the samples is incomplete or present in low quantity (for example, see http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/464347a.html). Thus, the match provides some evidence that the person in question was at the crime scene, but investigators must provide other independent sources of evidence to confirm this is true and that the DNA match is not a false positive.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  16. Jul 9, 2010 #15
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    I don't comment on a sailors life when I am not in the navy, so why should you comment on US domestic affairs, when you don't live in the United States?
     
  17. Jul 9, 2010 #16
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    I have no real issue with the use of familial DNA. Neither do I accept the racism claimed simply on the basis of the racial makeup of the prison population. Though it's likely indirectly race related through social factors. Doesn't make a crime not a crime.

    I do support the ACLU though. The issue is much bigger than just familial DNA. The ACLU statement: “It has the potential to invade the privacy of a lot of people,” is not a general proclamation against such techniques. When news sources use the term "privacy advocates" it doesn't mean it's an ACLU stance. I think you have implicitly conflated a few issues in naming Al Sharpton and the ACLU in the same sentence, as if it is synonymous. That statement by the UCLA wasn't a complaint, just a fact of the situation.

    So what are the real issues, that go beyond the serial killer? Should everybody be required to submit DNA to a database? If not, what level of crime justifies adding DNA to such a database? Arrested without being charged or found guilty, like New York? Speeding? Do you know what other things they can know about you with a good DNA analysis? Do you think law enforcement is the only people with access? Do you want your insurance company or employer to have this information?

    What about traffic stops with cops taking DNA samples in search of a criminal, like Florida?
    http://www.clickorlando.com/news/15232197/detail.html [Broken]

    They can use whatever tool they can come with to catch a criminal. If I'm committing such acts and get caught through some thuggish kins DNA, big deal. But when they start using every excuse in the book to build a complete database on me, just because some people are criminals, the data will end up becoming more useful to industry and even criminals than to law enforcement.

    When social security numbers were first created, it was promised they would have one purpose and one purpose only. Now you read your academic grades on the wall with the last 4 digits of your SS#. Many states even started making SS#'s and drivers license numbers the same, until identity theft started killing the practice.

    It's only reasonable to consider how far law enforcement should be allowed to go. Should they be allowed to spy on your internet activity at will? Why is my DNA any different? To pretend such concerns are a direct objection to one use, like the scumbag they just caught, is being extremely naive.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  18. Jul 9, 2010 #17
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    This is off topic but, would you ignore the domestic affairs of Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Nigeria, ... I don't have sufficient time to specifically point out the examples.
     
  19. Jul 9, 2010 #18
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    I don't live there, I do not know what it is like. I have talked to a few Iranians and Pakistanis, and they all (men and women) seem to enjoy where they are living. Beyond that, I am in no position to say "Iran's government is a POS" I can say their leader is a coocoo, but for me to say their government is wrong, I would have to live there, and experience it myself.
     
  20. Jul 9, 2010 #19
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    I don't think you would like to experience it yourself:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10545062.stm

    If you want more, I can certainly provide them but I believe you should know many instances where being a human you cannot simply ignore the domestic affairs in other countries.
     
  21. Jul 9, 2010 #20
    Re: Familial DNA leads to "Grim Sleeper" arrest

    No, it doesn't. Ygggdrasil makes my point perfectly. If you can't follow my logic, I really hope you can follow his (or hers?).

    Lets wait until we see all the evidence before declaring this crime solved. It very well could be that they've finally caught this killer. I hope they have. But a positive result on a DNA test alone doesn't prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt in my mind.

    I don't know if this is mentioned in any of Yggdrasil's links, but there was a man in Britain accused of raping a woman when his DNA "matched" the evidence but he had an iron-clad alibi: he was disabled, and physically incapable of committing the crime.

    I might be misremembering a detail of the case.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Familial DNA leads to Grim Sleeper arrest
  1. Arrested Developement (Replies: 32)

  2. Rush Limbaugh Arrested (Replies: 12)

  3. OJ arrested (Replies: 0)

  4. The American family (Replies: 1)

Loading...