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Genetic genealogy leads to arrest in 5-year old murder investigation

The investigation had remained a priority for investigators over the past several years, however, there wasn’t sufficient information to solve the crime.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Tuesday, agents from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s (SBI) Northeastern District and investigators from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) arrested a man for a murder that happened nearly five years ago.

On March 24, 2016, the SBI was requested by PCSO to assist with a homicide investigation. The victim in the investigation, George Washington Price, 74, was found dead in his Elizabeth City home with multiple stab wounds.

The joint investigation remained a priority for investigators over the past several years, however, there wasn’t sufficient information to solve the crime.

 That’s until SBI agents and PCSO investigators turned to genetic genealogy.  In October of 2020, investigators sought the services of Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon), a DNA technology company in Virginia. 

Law enforcement agencies across the country use the company’s Snapshot® DNA Analysis Service (Snapshot) to further investigations when traditional DNA methods don't produce a match.  

Snapshots newest service uses genetic genealogy, and advanced DNA testing in combination with innovative genetic analysis, sophisticated identification techniques, and traditional genealogical methods to establish the relationship between an individual and his/her ancestors.  

For forensic investigations, it is used to generate highly informative leads as to the possible identity of an unknown victim or offender.

Acting on information from Parabon, David Lee Blair, 55, was identified as a suspect in the investigation and was arrested on Tuesday, at his home in Winston-Salem. Blair was charged with the murder of Price.  After going before a magistrate, Blair was booked into the Forsyth County Detention Center without bond.  

 “The SBI is always looking for innovative ways to serve the people of North Carolina.  We understand the role of technology in solving cases and bringing closure to families who’ve suffered tragic losses.  We commend the hard work of the investigators with the Pasquotank Sheriff’s Office and the SBI agents who never gave up,” said SBI Director Robert Schurmeier.

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