Breaking News
More () »

Private lab company helps crack a 36-year-old Lexington cold case: Here's how they did it

The Lexington Police Chief says Othram Labs Incorporated used advanced technology to solve the case.

LEXINGTON, N.C. — A private lab played a significant role in helping identify the suspect in the murder of Mary Davis.

The Lexington Police Chief says Othram labs incorporated and used advanced technology to solve the case.

News 2 spoke with the lab's Chief Director to find out how the technology works.

A 36-year-old Lexington cold case

"I’ve met law-enforcement agents that work day and night. they take these files home, Dr. Kristen Mittelman, Chief Development Officer at Othram, said.

Finally solved bringing peace to the family members of Mary Davis.

A  partnership between the Lexington Police Department, the NC State crime lab, and the SBI, key partner Othram Lab Inc., helped put the missing pieces together.

"It was earlier this year that we got called in to help," said Dr. Kristen Mittelman 

Othram Inc. is a private entity that uses advanced genomics sequencing to understand DNA.

"We figured out how to use this advanced genomics technology to sequence intractable evidence rather than to sequence evidence that is in high quantities of fresh DNA, non-contaminated DNA," explained Mittelman.

Mittelman said DNA evidence from the Mary Davis case was sent to their scientists to develop a profile of the suspect for an investigative lead.

"We use the most powerful sequencer on earth right now to be able to take pictures of the DNA and we get hundreds of thousands of markers on the DNA profile and then we upload the profile to genealogical databases consented for law enforcement use once it’s uploaded you get matches," said Mittelman.

"It was the magic piece that needed to seal the deal," Robby Rummage with  Lexington Police Chief on Othram said.

Mittelman says it wasn’t until recent years more complex DNA profile technology was built.

"This crime was from 1987 even standard forensic DNA  testing didn’t really come into play until the early '90s," said Mittelman.

She said Othram Lab's technology has gone from solving a few cases in a year to a few cases in a day to help bring families closure.


Before You Leave, Check This Out