The Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office plans to use open source genealogical databases to help identify “stranger rapists” — people who’ve been indicted as John Does for sexual assault but haven’t been identified.

The prosecutor’s office indicts the DNA profile collected from a rape kit to ensure the statute of limitations doesn’t expire. 

There are more than 130 open rape cases in Cuyahoga County and prosecutors plan to start tackling them by trying to identify the assailants with help from DNA-based genealogy databases, said Special Investigations Chief Rick Bell.

Tech Tuesday: DNA And Law Enforcement

Jul 9, 2019
Forensic analyst India Henry works on evidence in a sexual assault case in the biology lab at the Houston Forensic Science Center Thursday, April 2, 2015, in Houston.
Pat Sullivan / Associated Press

An increasing number of amateur genealogists have turned to DNA testing for part of their query, uploading the data to websites that point them to otherwise unknown or distant relatives, sometimes entire branches of a family tree.

But, what they upload in the process may qualify as evidence for law enforcement, which has found a measure of success using DNA databases to track down alleged criminals. 

Last month, DNA evidence for the first time helped convince a jury to find a person guilty of murder. As long as law enforcement is required to first get a court order, such databases should be available, say supporters of the trend.

But some privacy advocates call the use of DNA databases for such purposes an unlawful invasion of privacy. 

Today on Tech Tuesday on All Sides with Ann Fisher, DNA databases and law enforcement. 


Thousands of DNA profiles legally required to be collected from adults arrested for felonies or convicted of some misdemeanors in Ohio are missing from state and national crime databases, according to a newspaper network's investigation.


Sep 25, 2018
Thor_Deichmann / Pixabay

Information about your ancestors, who they were, and where they came from, can be a mystery for many people. However, with the accessibility and affordability of DNA testing, and genealogy archives, almost anyone can learn about their family roots.

Today on All Sides, how to start building your family tree and how technology can make your history search better.

The World's Family Tree

Dec 4, 2017
dimitrisvetsikas1969 / Pixabay

Just how deep do our connections to each other run? Neighbors, co-workers and friends could all be potential relatives, even your favorite celebrity, according to a new book about genealogy and human history. Coming up- a look at global family ties.

Wellness Wednesday: DNA App Store, NFL

Aug 2, 2017
Thor_Deichmann / Pixabay

The ability to have information about  your genetic makeup right at your fingertips is here and affordable. A Silicon Valley company known as Helix is launching an app to make it possible for people to download and explore their genetics. Experts say this new app could change how we perceive people as healthy .

 Today we are talking about the DNA app store, NFL concussion research and technology and mental health.

The Obama administration has dropped a controversial proposal that would have required all federally funded scientists to get permission from patients before using their cells, blood, tissue or DNA for research.

Ohio Supreme Court Gavel statue
Flickr /

The Ohio Supreme Court is hearing arguments today in an appeal involving a death row inmate who sought DNA testing on a cigarette butt found near the scene of the 1990 double murder that led to his sentence.

Franklin County Jail

A man has been indicted in a 1997 rape at a central Ohio park after new testing on old evidence helped identify him through DNA.

Franklin County Jail

Police in Ohio's capital say cold-case investigators have used DNA evidence to link a rape case nearly two decades old to a man recently arrested in Oklahoma.

Ohio Supreme Court Gavel statue
Flickr /

The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal involving a death row inmate who sought DNA testing on a cigarette butt found near the scene of the 1990 double murder that led to his sentence.

At issue is whether there is a constitutional appeals process for death row prisoners who have requests for DNA testing denied after a trial is over.