After King case, police to get DNA database
5 November 2007, MADRID - The inspired hunch of one policeman led to the arrest of the real murderer of Rocío Wanninkof.
5 November 2007
MADRID - The inspired hunch of one policeman led to the arrest of the real murderer of Rocío Wanninkof.
It occurred to him to compare the genetic data of the Englishman Tony Alexander King, charged with the murder of Sonia Carabantes, with the DNA extracted from a Royal Crown cigarette butt found near Wanninkof's body, in an earlier murder case in the same district of the Costa del Sol, for which an innocent woman had already been convicted. And the result left no room for doubt. The man who had smoked that cigarette had been King.
The controversial case revived the debate on the need to regulate DNA data bases, as well as the obtaining of DNA samples from suspects. If Spain's two principal police corps, the National Police and the Civil Guard, had pooled their genetic data, the crime might have been solved a lot more quickly.
In another case, a series of rapes in the Barcelona region, two Moroccans, Abderazak Mounib and Ahmed Tommouhi - who physically resembled the real criminals, and were identified in a police line-up - were wrongly convicted, until DNA showed that they were innocent.
After November 9, inspired hunches will no longer be so necessary to prove guilt, or innocence, in homicides and rapes. A new centralized DNA bank will store all available genetic information in the ambit of criminal investigation, and will help to find the perpetrators of thousands of unsolved crimes, including many rapes.
The system will allow automatic data comparison for immediate identification. The new data base will include some 45,000 genetic profiles now divided between the files of the National Police and those of the Civil Guard. Of these, only 6,000 are "beyond doubt," or rather it is known for certain who they belong to. The other 39,000 are "anonymous," their "owner" being unidentified. All are biological samples found at the scene of a crime: cigarette butts, hair, saliva, semen and blood.
"Criminals now know what to do to avoid leaving fingerprints, so it's harder to find fingerprints, except in impulsive, unpremeditated crimes. But it's very difficult to not leave some genetic trace (hair, saliva, skin). So this new data base is very important. It may help to clear up thousands of cases," says a source in the Scientific Police service.
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ JESÚS DUVA / MÓNICA C. BELAZA]
Subject: Spanish news