Grabill man arrested in 1988 slaying of April Marie Tinsley

While this may at first seem like a very local story about the possibility of justice in a 30 year-old murder, there are some issues with much wider interest.

Part of the technology used by police to identify the suspect involved a public DNA database. The Allen County Public Library has a very large genealogy collection, second only to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Our area has a lot of interest in genealogy partly because of this.

In recent years several private companies have marketed a home DNA test which you can submit to their site to learn more about your family history. Even if you are not part of a DNA registry that many states have instituted for felons, you may be tracked down if a close relative has become a member of one of these private databases.

I suspect some civil liberty advocates will object to using these databases to find the perpetrators of serious crimes. Along with cameras recording just about any public area, widely available DNA databases are making it really difficult to evade justice for serious crimes. If you decide to kidnap, rape, and murder an eight year old girl, you will be caught.

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