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Advancements in DNA testing are helping CPD solve cold cases


The Columbia Police Department is working to solve a cold case from 1994 using advancements in DNA testing.

Virginia Davis, 43, of Columbia, was found dead at home in the 1500 block of Patsy lane on June 6, 1994. According to the CPD, her death was determined to be a homicide, but a suspect has yet to be identified.

Sgt. Matt Gremore, who leads CPD's Homicide Department, said the department scores every cold case, "to see which one was the most solvable." Gremore said the department reopened Davis' case based on its initial scoring.

"There's several others that we're going to reopen as well," he said. "But this is the one that we want to try to push initially to see what results we can get."

CPD initially announced it was reopening the case on its social media.

Gremore said they chose to announce the reopening of the case, because "it's important to get that information out."

"It's important for the public to stay aware that, that exists and if there's any information that can come forward to can help out the case," he said.

CPD months ago also reopened a 1984 rape and assault that led to the arrest of James Wilson. Gremore said DNA technology is playing a major role in reopening cases.

"Having those capabilities now that you didn't have in the 90s, the 80s, or even early 2000s it's just amazing to see where we are at now," Gremore said. "I think that DNA plays a huge portion (in solving cold cases). It's an extremely investigative tool to use, just as much as information coming from the public."

The department said it is not releasing any more information regarding the investigation into Davis' case.

"It's (investigating cold cases) extremely extensive. One person has to sit down to read an entire case file," Gremore said. "Which can be an unnatural amount of pages, I mean, you're talking about books with information."

Gremore said there are five homicide detectives and just one works cold cases.

"But she's also tasked with working other cases as well," he said. "So the amount of cases that we have come in for one person to sit down and dive into a cold case is that that's a lot of time."

Because of the workload related to these cases, Gremore said only a few are able to revisited at a time.

"There's several others that we're going to reopen as well. But this (Davis' case) is the one that we want to try to push initially to see what results we can get," he said. "I think any information that can help come forward with a suspect that will lead us at least in the right direction, could be huge for the case."

CPD is asking anybody with any information regarding the death of Davis to contact Crimestoppers at 574-875-8477 or the Columbia Police Department.

Article Topic Follows: Columbia
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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.


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