Investigators have recently sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon), a DNA technology company in Virginia that specializes in DNA phenotyping, the process of predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence. Law enforcement agencies use the company’s Snapshot™ DNA Phenotyping Service (Snapshot) for narrowing suspect lists and generating leads in criminal investigations.
Using DNA evidence from the Bennett Family Homicide investigation, Snapshot produced trait predictions for the associated person of interest (POI). Individual’s predictions were made for ancestry, eye color, hair color, skin color, freckling and face shape. By combining these attributes of appearance, a Snapshot composite profile was produced that depicts what the person of interest may have looked like at 25 years old.
It is important to note that Snapshot composites are scientific approximations of appearance based on DNA, and are not likely to be exact replicas of appearance. Environmental factors such as smoking, drinking, diet, and other non-environmental factors, such as facial hair, hairstyle, scars, etc. cannot be predicted by DNA analysis and may cause further variation between the POI’s predicted and actual appearance.
Between 9 p.m. January 15, 1984 and 10 a.m. January 16, 1984, twenty-seven year old Bruce Bennett, his twenty-six year old wife, Debra and their seven year old daughter Melissa, were brutally murdered inside their home located in the 16300 Block of East Center Drive. An autopsy found that Debra died from blunt force trauma. Additionally, autopsies determined that Bruce and Melissa died from blunt force trauma as well as sharp force injuries, consistent with a knife. Evidence at the scene indicated that Melissa had been sexually assaulted. A second child, the Bennett’s three year old daughter, was found alive inside the residence suffering from blunt force trauma.
If you or someone you know can provide information on this unresolved homicide investigation, you are encouraged to contact Agent Steve Conner with the Homicide Unit Cold Case Squad at (303) 739-6190, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sergeant Chris Amsler
Public Information Officer
Media Relations Unit