Session

The Twisted Tale of the Endogamous Rapist

Wednesday September 20th, 2023 // 2:00 pm - 2:20 pm // Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center, Centennial Ballroom

On August 12, 1990, a woman was kidnapped and raped at knifepoint in Brandon, Mississippi. An individual falsely confessed to the rape in the early 90’s and initial secretor testing was inconclusive. In 2003 the case underwent STR testing which excluded the original suspect and was subsequently uploaded to CODIS. CODIS returned a case-to-case match to a second rape that occurred exactly one month after the Brandon, MS rape on September 12, 1990 in Shelby County, Tennessee. One of the responding officers, David Ruth, never forgot about this case. As his career progressed, he became the DA investigator and later the Rankin County elected coroner. In 2019, David asked for the case to be reevaluated. After 32 years of no viable leads, Rankin County, Mississippi turned to forensic investigative genetic genealogy (FIGG) to identify the repeat perpetrator.

 

The case demonstrates the importance of CODIS as a first step, otherwise the repeat offenses likely wouldn’t have been linked. It also demonstrates the power of FIGG when all other options have been exhausted. This case was interesting in that:

 

  • Investigators across state-lines cooperated in the investigation.
  • The family trees had multiple examples of unknown parentage. The highest match did not have a father listed on her birth certificate and her mother’s side was eliminated. Once her father was identified then it was discovered that her grandmother was not the daughter of the man listed on her birth certificate.
  • Endogamy in multiple branches of perpetrator’s family made the genealogical investigation particularly challenging and inflated matching amounts of cMs.

 

This case will educate attendees on how partnerships across multiple agencies can be beneficial to solving cases. In addition, this case will demonstrate how to navigate complicated genetic genealogical relationships such as unknown parentage, and endogamy. Trial is set for early June, so it is anticipated that the case will be fully resolved prior to the symposium and that details will be shared about the trial process as well.

Speakers

Private: Ryan Berry

Assistant District Attorney, Twentieth Circuit Court District of Mississippi

Ryan Berry has been a prosecutor for 16 years.  He currently prosecutes cases in the Twentieth Circuit Court District of Mississippi. Ryan is the former Chair of the Prosecutor’s Section of the Mississippi Bar Association. He been an instructor at various law enforcement training classes including the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers’ Training Academy.  

Submit Questions

Private: Allison Ryall

Forensic Genetic Genealogist, Bode Technology

Allison Ryall is a Forensic Genetic Genealogist for Bode Technology. In addition, she serves as the Genealogy Specialist at the Orange County (Florida) Library System, where she adeptly handles a diverse range of research cases pertaining to both traditional and genetic genealogy. As a faculty member within Boston University's Genealogy Studies Program, she imparts her extensive knowledge and expertise to students, instructing them in research methodology and genetic genealogy techniques.

Submit Questions