EMPORIA, Va., Dec. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Innovative Forensic DNA is partnering with the Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association (SEHIA) and Project: Cold Case to launch "Upload for Justice," a year-long collaborative initiative to encourage law enforcement officers, families of victims, survivors, advocates, and the public to upload their DNA to Family Tree DNA and GEDmatch for use in cold case investigations. The first Upload for Justice outreach will be held at the Year of Hope event, on January 25, 2020, in Jacksonville, FL, the 5th annual fundraiser supporting Project: Cold Case.
In the United States, as many as 200,000 rape kits are untested. DNA testing is widely known as an essential element in investigating and prosecuting sexual assaults because it increases the probability of identifying the perpetrator, holding the perpetrator accountable, and even preventing future sexual assaults. With the widespread availability of DNA testing kits, law enforcement has a new and valuable tool in identifying perpetrators—genetic relative matches.
"Law enforcement can analyze relatives' DNA uploaded to databases to identify potential suspects in cases of sexual assault," says Katherine Turner, LPC, Family Sexual Assault Unit and Client & Media Relations, Family & Victim Advocate at Innovative Forensic DNA. "The Upload for Justice initiative will directly collaborate with law enforcement to assist detectives, officers, family members of crime victims and survivors, and victim advocates to submit DNA testing and upload family trees to solve cold cases. I will be testing at the Year of Hope event myself and pledging to upload my DNA and family tree for law enforcement use."
At the Year of Hope event, investigative genetic genealogists from Innovative Forensic DNA, board members from Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association (SEHIA) and Project: Cold Case will provide Upload Stations for attendees. They will provide free on-site DNA testing for 100 attendees, including law enforcement officers, family of victims, advocates, and others. For attendees who have already tested they will aid in uploading existing DNA results to databases for law enforcement use with their informed consent.
Jennifer Spears, President of SEHIA adds, "The Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association is dedicated to partnering with organizations who share the same vision of solving cold case homicides in our country. We are thrilled to announce our participation in the Upload for Justice campaign with partners Project: Cold Case and Innovative Forensic DNA at the 5th annual Year of Hope event."
"Project: Cold Case is excited to partner with the Southeastern Homicide Investigators Association and Innovative Forensic DNA on the Upload for Justice campaign during our 5th annual Year of Hope event," states Ryan Backmann, Project: Cold Case's Founder and Executive Director. "The opportunity to see law enforcement and survivors physically performing the same task in an effort to solve cold cases is a powerful moment and one that will resonate with all those associated with unsolved crimes."
Project: Cold Case's 2020 Year of Hope event will be held on January 25, 2020 from 2-6pm, at the Hardage-Giddens Legacy Lodge Events Center, 1601 Oaklawn Place, Jacksonville, FL. Along with the Upload for Justice activities, the event will consist of music, free food, and non-alcoholic drinks, a cash bar, silent and live auction items. Details and RSVP at projectcoldcase.org/yearofhope/
ABOUT INNOVATIVE FORENSIC DNA LLC
Innovative Forensic DNA is an investigative genetic genealogy firm providing services to law enforcement agencies, working collaboratively through the entire lifecycle of the case, from submission to conclusion. Unique in the industry, Innovative Forensic DNA combines years of expertise in the growing field of investigative genetic genealogy with a deep expertise in legal, law enforcement and family advocacy. For more information visit www.innovativeforensic.com
ABOUT THE SOUTHEASTERN HOMICIDE INVESTIGATORS ASSOCIATION (SEHIA)
SEHIA is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization dedicated to furthering education and networking for law enforcement personnel. SEHIA produces an annual conference to enhance the dialogue between members of law enforcement tasked with investigating the most heinous and impactful life events faced by members of society. SEHIA's 2020 conference will be held at the Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North, November 9-13, 2020. For more information visit sehia.org.
ABOUT PROJECT: COLD CASE
Project: Cold Case is a non-profit organization that serves families of unsolved homicide victims by linking families, information and law enforcement. Year of Hope is the annual fundraiser for Project: Cold Case. For more information visit projectcoldcase.org.
SOURCE Innovative Forensic DNA LLC