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KTNV 13 Action News

DNA technology leading to major breakthroughs in Las Vegas cold cases

By Tricia Kean,


Recent advancements in DNA testing have brought major breakthroughs to once-unsolved cold cases in the Las Vegas valley.

For the loved ones of victims, justice is not always immediate. However, in recent years, thanks to advancements in the DNA technology, Las Vegas Metro police detectives are finding new leads and solving these cold cases.

Something both detectives and forensic experts will be discussing in a panel at the Mob Museum this week.

"Even in the last four or five years — there have been advances, and it continues to get better and better touch. DNA is now to the point where we can make the identification," said LVMPD Detective Terri Miller.

Det. Miller says in the last year, Metro has been able to solve three cases and in the last three years, it's been a total of six.

She continued, "Now we turn to forensics, and by those forensics — which is a much better technology — we're able to at least generate leads in some of these old cases where DNA was never even originally work because they didn't even know what it was."

Back in February of this year, Las Vegas Metro police were able to solve the killing of Pearl Ingram whose body was found inside a dumpster behind a grocery store in east Charleston in 1994. Eddie Snowden Junior — who died in 2017 — was identified as the killer.

Ingram's sister, Teresa Board, spoke with Channel 13 about what it meant to get justice.

"It's kind of like a happy sad," she said. "You're happy that you know what happened to give you closure, but once again, it brings back the fact that someone took away a family member and no one has that right."

RELATED: Las Vegas police identify suspect involved in two 1990s cold case murders

DNA testing helped identify Snowden as the suspect, thanks in part to the help from Othram, a private laboratory in Texas that helps police departments across the country solve cold cases.

"We're able to help solve quite a few cold cases that were there, and we continued to build relationships in the area," Dr. Kristen Mittelman of Othram Testing Lab told Channel 13.

Mittleman has been working with LVMPD for about two and a half years, and she says getting these results mean everything.

She says a few years ago, they couldn't use burnt remains, but now they can.

She said, "It's a ripple effect. And knowing that every time we get an answer, someone is able to turn that chapter in their lives and is able to know the truth about what happened, and is able to move on. That's huge."

A big reason for the partnership with Metro is because of the Las Vegas Justice League, which helps fund the testing by sponsoring certain cases.

Justin Woo with the Justice League said, "We sponsor the $5,000 contribution that goes to the DNA reevaluation."

Both Metro and the Justice League are now preparing for a panel discussion — "Mysteries Solved: How Tech Changed the Game for Cold Case Detectives" — at the Mob Museum on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The event will look at the tech advancements when it comes to DNA testing to solve cold cases.

"These recent advancements in the last I want to say a few years like we started this in 2020, like 3 years ago, have been amazing," Woo said.

The program at the Mob Museum will give insight into the advancements and the new tools that are helping solve these crimes. Both Metro police and the Justice League are constantly working to help give the loved ones of victims the closure they're seeking.

Woo continued, "Metro specifically, they have one of the highest cold case closed rates in the nation. And being able to provide that closure to families, that's something that law enforcement isn't forgetting about."

Det. Miller added, "I try to put myself in their shoes, and I would want someone to move heaven and earth to make sure that they did not give up in trying to find who did this."

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