After 36 years, advanced genetic testing helped the Toronto Police Service identify Christine Jessop's killer
THE WOODLANDS, Texas October 15, 2020
In October of 1984, 9-year-old Christine Jessop got off her school bus in the small town of Queensville, Ontario, as she did every day. She dropped her school bag off at home, and walked to meet a friend at the park. Christine never made it. A massive search by the community revealed no indication of what had happened.
Christine’s body was found off a rural road in Sunderland, Ontario a few months later. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed. Initial investigations led police to believe she was taken by her next-door neighbor. Despite protesting his innocence and an initial acquittal, the neighbor was eventually convicted of Christine’s abduction and murder. In 1995, newly available DNA testing technology exonerated the accused neighbor, and the investigation for Christine’s killer resumed. In the years that followed, the Toronto Police Service pursued all leads and technologies available to advance the investigation.
In 2019, Toronto Police investigators partnered with Othram to leverage Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing™ to build a genealogical profile from the scant quantity of highly degraded DNA that remained. The Toronto Police investigators performed genealogical research to home in on a suspect that was subsequently confirmed through traditional DNA testing. Calvin Hoover, who died in 2015, has been named as the perpetrator.
Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. Othram’s scientists are experts at recovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials. Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches have failed. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. Visit dnasolves.com to learn how anyone can make a difference in helping solve the next cold case.
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