First Advisor

De Angelis, Joseph

Thesis Committee Member(s)

De Angelis, Joseph


College for Professional Studies

Degree Name

MS Criminology


School of Humanities & Social Sciences

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

27 pages


Many cases go unsolved every day in the United States; some due to a lack of technological advancement in forensic science. When a person is killed, raped, or in danger of physical harm, it is the responsibility of law enforcement and their collaborative agencies to find and apprehend the responsible parties. The use of familial DNA searches in the United States is a relatively new investigative technique. Traditionally, DNA samples found at a crime scene are run through a national Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) to look for possible matches. When a sample does not return a positive hit, investigators are faced with tracking down responsible parties through circumstantial evidence and witness testimony. As technology in forensic science progresses, other ways of creating viable leads have emerged, such as familial DNA testing. Familial testing looks for likely family relationships that share similar DNA to offenders or reference samples already in the CODIS database. Since the implementation and success of such familial DNA software in other countries, four states within the United States have chosen to create and pass legislation to permit a policy that allows for the testing of familial DNA. Most states require multiple stringent criterion to be met in order for a case or cases to qualify for familial DNA testing. This study examines the published policy of familial DNA searching in four states across the United States in terms of policy implementation, identifies the criterion required to conduct a familial search in each state, and explores the number of successful case closures these states have had due adopting familial searching software.

Date of Award

Fall 2012

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

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