Detectives Just Used DNA To Solve A 1956 Double Homicide. They May Have Made History (2023)

Clippings from the Great Falls Tribune were part of the Cascade County Sheriff's Office investigative file into the 1956 murders of Patricia Kalitzke and Lloyd Duane Bogle. Traci Rosenbaum/USA Today Network via Reuters Co. hide caption

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Traci Rosenbaum/USA Today Network via Reuters Co.

Clippings from the Great Falls Tribune were part of the Cascade County Sheriff's Office investigative file into the 1956 murders of Patricia Kalitzke and Lloyd Duane Bogle.

Traci Rosenbaum/USA Today Network via Reuters Co.

It was only three days into 1956 when three boys from Montana, out for a hike on a normal January day, made a gruesome discovery they were unlikely to ever forget.

During a walk near the Sun River, they found 18-year-old Lloyd Duane Bogle, dead from a gunshot wound to the head. They found him on the ground near his car, and someone had used his belt to tie his hands behind his back, according to a report from the Great Falls Tribune. The next day brought another disturbing discovery: A county road worker found 16-year-old Patricia Kalitzke's body in an area north of Great Falls, the paper reports. She had been shot in the head, just as Bogle had been, but she had also been sexually assaulted.

Their killings went unsolved until this week when investigators announced they had cracked what is believed to be the oldest case solved with DNA and forensic genealogy.

The victims were discovered in a lover's lane

Bogle, an airman hailing from Texas, and Kalitzke, a junior at Great Falls High School, had fallen for each other and were even considering marriage, the Tribune reports. The place where they were believed to have been killed was a known "lover's lane," according to a clipping from a local newspaper posted on a memorial page.

But their love story was brutally cut short by the actions of a killer whose identity would not be revealed for more than 60 years. And it was not for lack of trying: Early on in the case, investigators followed numerous leads, but none of them panned out. The case eventually went cold.

For decades, the Cascade County Sheriff's Office continued to work on it, with multiple detectives attempting to make progress over the years. One such investigator was Detective Sgt. Jon Kadner, who was assigned the case in 2012 — his first cold case, he said during an interview with NPR. He was immediately met with the daunting task of digitizing the expansive case file, an endeavor that took months.

He continued to work on the Kalitzke/Bogle case even while handling the newer cases that were landing on his desk all the time, but he had a feeling that more was needed to get to the bottom of what had happened to the couple all those decades ago.

"My first impression was that the only way we're gonna ever solve this is through the use of DNA," Kadner said.

Detectives turned to a new forensic investigation

Fortunately, Kadner had something to work with. During Kalitzke's autopsy in 1956, coroners had taken a vaginal swab, which had been preserved on a microscopic slide in the years since, according to the Great Falls Tribune report. Phil Matteson, a now-retired detective with the sheriff's office, sent that sample to a local lab for testing in 2001, and the team there identified sperm that did not belong to Bogle, her boyfriend, the paper reports.

Armed with this knowledge, Kadner in 2019 sought out the assistance of Bode Technology. After forensic genealogy was used to finally nab the Golden State Killer the year prior, law enforcement officials were becoming increasingly aware of the potential to use that technology to solve cold cases — even decades-old cases like Kalitzke and Bogle's.

With the help of partnering labs, forensic genealogists are able to use preserved samples to create a DNA profile of the culprit and then use that profile to search public databases for any potential matches. In most cases, those profiles can end up linking to distant relatives of the culprit — say, a second or third cousin. By searching public records (such as death certificates and newspaper clippings), forensic genealogists are then able to construct a family tree that can point them right to the suspect, even if that suspect has never provided their DNA to any public database.

In this case, "Our genealogists, what they're going to do is independently build a family tree from this cousin's profile," Andrew Singer, an executive with Bode Technology, told NPR. He called it "a reverse family tree. ... We're essentially going backwards. We're starting with a distant relative and trying to work back toward our unknown sample."

It worked: DNA testing led investigators to a man named Kenneth Gould. Before moving to Missouri in 1967, Gould had lived with his wife and children in the Great Falls area around the time of the murders, according to the Tribune.

"It felt great because for the first time in 65 years we finally had a direction and a place to take the investigation," Kadner told NPR. "Because it was all theories up to that point ... we finally had a match and we had a name. That changed the whole dynamic of the case."

Investigators' goal is a safer world

But there was one big problem: Gould had died in 2007 and his remains had been cremated, according to the Tribune. The only way to prove his guilt or his innocence was to test the DNA of his remaining relatives.

Detectives had an uncomfortable task ahead of them: letting a dead man's family know that, despite the fact that he'd never previously been identified as a person of interest, he was now the key suspect in a double homicide and rape.

Authorities traveled to Missouri, where they spoke with Gould's children and told them about the Kalitzke/Bogle case and eventually identified their father as a suspect, Kadner said. They asked for the family's help in either proving or disproving that Gould was the man responsible and the family complied.

The test results said Gould was the guy. With the killer finally identified, Kadner was able to reach out to the victims' surviving relatives and deliver the closure that had taken more than 60 years to procure. It was a bittersweet revelation: They were grateful for answers, but for many of the older people in the family, it was a struggle to have those wounds reopened.

"They're excited, but at the same time, it has brought up a lot of memories," Kadner said.

Now, the sheriff's office is considering forming a cold case task force, as other law enforcement agencies have done. The hope is that they'll be able to provide more families with the answers they deserve and, in many cases, have spent years waiting for.

"If there's new technology and we are able to potentially solve something, we want to keep working at it, because ultimately we're trying to do it for the family," he said. "Give them some closure."

The Kalitzke/Bogle case is one of the oldest criminal cases that has been solved using forensic genealogy, and authorities are hopeful that they'll be able to use this ever-advancing technology to solve cold cases dating back even further — although new state legislation restricting forensic genealogy could complicate matters.

Even without that complication, Singer explained to NPR, the success rate depends heavily on how well the evidence has been preserved over the years. Still, he hopes that it can be used to help law enforcement improve public safety and "[prevent] tomorrow's victim."

"It's really fantastic technology and it's going to solve a lot of cold cases," Singer said.


How many cases have been solved using DNA evidence? ›

According to reports, police departments throughout the United States have been able to crack at least 28 cold cases since 2018 using GEDmatch, genetic genealogy, and DNA testing.

When did DNA start getting used to solve crimes? ›

DNA fingerprinting was first used in forensic science in 1986 when police in the UK requested Dr. Alec J. Jeffreys, of University of Leicester, to verify a suspect's confession that he was responsible for two rape-murders. Tests proved that the suspect had not committed the crimes.

What case was solved by DNA? ›

BURLINGTON, Vt. – After 52 years, a 1971 Vermont murder has been solved using decades-old DNA evidence. Rita Curran was murdered in her Burlington apartment in 1971, and the case remained a mystery for years.

What is the oldest cold case ever solved by DNA? ›

— The murder of Nancy Marie Bennallack, a 28-year-old court reporter who was brutally stabbed to death in October 1970 in her Sacramento apartment, remained a cold case for nearly 52 years.

Is DNA evidence enough to convict? ›

Law enforcement has solved countless cold cases as well as current cases based on DNA evidence. The problem arises from the fact that, like almost everything, DNA testing is not 100% reliable. A miscarriage of justice can result when someone gets wrongfully convicted based on incorrect DNA results or interpretations.

Is DNA the most reliable evidence? ›

Studies have shown that DNA evidence is 99% accurate, making it one of the most foolproof pieces of evidence you can possibly use in court. Like fingerprints, no two people have the same DNA. If a mistake occurs, it's typically because of human error.

How long does DNA evidence last? ›

Unlike the human body that continues to change as a result of biological needs and hygiene, crime scene evidence such as clothing is typically stable. Therefore, DNA evidence that is recovered from such a source is likely to be detectable for many years and perhaps even decades following a sexual assault.

What was the first case solved by DNA? ›

The world's first DNA-based manhunt took place between 1986 and 1988 in Enderby, Leicestershire, UK, during the investigation of a double rape-murder: Linda Mann (UK) in 1983, and Dawn Ashworth 1986.

What percent of crimes are solved by DNA? ›

Even though it is used in less than 1% of all criminal cases, DNA profiling has helped to acquit or convict suspects in many of the most violent crimes, including rape and murder.

Who was the first DNA killer? ›

Evan Macmillan was the first killer in the game and is essentially the mascot of the franchise at this point. His name might make his ability obvious since he uses bear traps.

Can police get your DNA from Ancestry? ›

Law Enforcement Requests in the United States:

Contents of communications and any data relating to the DNA of an Ancestry user will be released only pursuant to a valid search warrant from a government agency with proper jurisdiction.

What is the biggest unsolved mystery? ›

List of entries
  • Dead Men Cannot Talk - the sinking of the MS Georges Philippar.
  • Disappearing Dorothy - the disappearance of Dorothy Forstein.
  • Mystery at Wolf's Neck - the death of Evelyn Foster.
  • Spring-Heeled Jack, The Demon of London - the sightings of Spring-heeled Jack.
  • The World's Last Airship - the Hindenburg disaster.

What is the oldest unsolved cold case in america? ›

Marvin Alvin Clark (ca. 1852—disappeared October 30, 1926) was an American man who disappeared under mysterious circumstances while en route to visit his daughter in Portland, Oregon during the Halloween weekend, 1926. Clark's case has the distinction of being the oldest active missing person case in the United States.

What is the major problem with DNA evidence? ›

Once your DNA is in a police database, regardless of whether you've been accused or convicted of a crime or not, it's there for posterity. DNA also identifies your family and medical conditions. If the present DNA database, CODIS, ever gets hacked, the hackers will have access to that sensitive information.

Why is DNA evidence so powerful? ›

DNA is a powerful investigative tool because, with the exception of identical twins, no two people have the same DNA. Therefore, DNA evidence collected from a crime scene can be linked to a suspect or can eliminate a suspect from suspicion.

How accurate is DNA in crime? ›

Only one-tenth of 1 percent of human DNA differs from one individual to the next and, although estimates vary, studies suggest that forensic DNA analysis is roughly 95 percent accurate.

Can DNA ever be wrong? ›

Lab Error May Also Produce False Results

Deliberate fraud is not the only source of erroneous DNA test results. In some instances, errors made by the lab can also lead to results that are inaccurate. Estimates for how common this varies, but it does happen and may cause either false-positive or false-negative results.

Do twins have the same DNA? ›

Identical twins share the same genomes and are always of the same sex. In contrast, fraternal (dizygotic) twins result from the fertilization of two separate eggs with two different sperm during the same pregnancy. They share half of their genomes, just like any other siblings.

Can a DNA test be manipulated? ›

DNA fraud is not common, but it does happen. A mother may submit a sample of the man's other child to force a positive paternity test. Someone in the lab may tamper with the DNA samples or the test results to provide false results.

How far back can a person's DNA be traced? ›

A commons question I'm asked is, how many generations does DNA go back. If you're using an autosomal test such as AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or MyHeritage, you'll generally go back 6 to 8 generations. Assuming 25 years per generation, you can expect 150-200 years of DNA information by taking an autosomal DNA test.

How far back can DNA accurately be traced? ›

Mt-DNA Haplogroup Testing (Up to 100,000 Years)

You can use mt-DNA testing to trace your family history up to 100,000 years, and see each major step your ancient ancestors took along the way.

Does hair contain DNA? ›

Hair DNA consists of genetic material used as building blocks for our hair. "Our hair follicle contains nucleic acid DNA, while our hair shaft contains mitochondrial DNA.

Who was the first suspect to be cleared of a crime by DNA evidence? ›

However, the results also proved that Richard Buckland was not the murderer. His confession had, evidently, been false. He was released and became the first suspect to be cleared of a crime by DNA evidence.

How much DNA do any two people share? ›

All human beings are 99.9 percent identical in their genetic makeup. Differences in the remaining 0.1 percent hold important clues about the causes of diseases.

How much DNA is needed to identify a person? ›

As of January 1, 2017, the National DNA Index System (NDIS) requires that 20 autosomal STR markers be tested, and the profile must contain information for at least 10 loci. The requirements are less stringent for state and local databases.

What is the most common DNA found at a crime scene? ›

One of the most common sources of DNA at a crime scene is a bodily fluid. Blood, saliva, sweat, urine and semen can readily provide DNA information at crime scenes, as can just about any other substance secreted or excreted by the body.

Who has the oldest DNA? ›

The oldest DNA sequenced from humans in Africa dates to about 15,000 years ago; in Europe, scientists have sequenced DNA from a Neanderthal that lived some 120,000 years ago.

Who is the first ever killer? ›

H. H. Holmes
Mugshot of Henry Howard Holmes, c. 1895
BornHerman Webster MudgettMay 16, 1861 Gilmanton, New Hampshire, U.S.
DiedMay 7, 1896 (aged 34) Moyamensing Prison, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
13 more rows

Is there a killer gene? ›

As I said before, there's no “serial killer” gene–there's a gene that can influence someone's level of aggression and emotional control. Classifying people as “serial killer gene carriers” is a terrible idea for several reasons.

Does the government have my DNA? ›

No, your DNA is not stored by the federal government as a part of the security clearance process, but yes, some biometric data (in this case, fingerprints) are currently required.

Do the police already have your DNA? ›

But even if you never gave your genes to a DNA company or research institute, police may have enough DNA data to identify you. That's because every time a family member sends in their swab, they're sending in your data too.

Do police keep DNA on file? ›

DNA samples and fingerprints taken during the course of a criminal investigation are routinely stored in police databases.

What is the biggest mystery of history? ›

Our inquisitiveness in these mysteries has lasted the test of time and our need to comprehend them draws us deeper into the great curiosity that is Mankind.
  • Bog People. ...
  • Legend of Atlantis. ...
  • Riddle of the Sphinx. ...
  • Stonehenge. ...
  • The Shroud of Turin. ...
  • The Antikythera Mechanism. ...
  • Piri Reis Map. ...
  • Ark of the Covenant.

What is the most famous mystery of all time? ›

25 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries Ever
  • The Taos Hum. In the small town of Taos, New Mexico, there is a certain buzz often heard on the horizon that can be compared to the sound of a distant diesel engine. ...
  • Voynich Manuscript. ...
  • Jack the Ripper. ...
  • Bermuda Triangle. ...
  • Kryptos. ...
  • Shepherd's Monument Inscription. ...
  • Tamam Shud. ...
  • Zodiac Letters.
Oct 29, 2022

What is the creepiest unsolved case? ›

10 mysterious police cases that are still unsolved
  1. The Zodiac Killer. (Photo/ ...
  2. The Taman Shud Case. (Photo/ ...
  3. The Tara Calico Case. (Photo/ ...
  4. The Severed Feet Mystery. ...
  5. The Dead Woman Who Named Her Killer. ...
  6. The Boy in the Box. ...
  7. The Jeanette DePalma Case. ...
  8. The Glico-Morinaga Case.

What is the oldest missing person case in the United States? ›

1852—disappeared October 30, 1926) was an American man who disappeared under mysterious circumstances while on a route to visit his daughter in Portland, Oregon during the Halloween weekend, 1926. Clark's case has the distinction of being the oldest active missing person case in the United States.

Which state has the most cold cases? ›

What state has the most unsolved cold cases? "There's a violent component in cities that have a large number of people," Backmann said. According to the Murder Accountability Project, which compiles data from the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, California has the most unsolved homicides and cold cases in the country.

How many cases have been overturned by DNA? ›

Exonerate the Innocent

We also consult on a number of cases on appeal in which the defendant is represented by primary counsel and we provide information and background on DNA testing litigation. To date, 375 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 21 who served time on death row.

Who has been exonerated by DNA evidence? ›

Kirk Noble Bloodsworth, a former Marine discus champion, was proven innocent by DNA in 1993 of the rape and murder of nine-year-old Dawn Hamilton—a crime for which he was sentenced to death in Baltimore County, Maryland, in 1985.

How many crimes have been solved using genetic genealogy? ›

Like Finding a Needle in a Haystack. So far, Stanford University reports, forensic genetic genealogy has been used to solve over 400 crimes.

In what cases did DNA evidence help convict a criminal? ›

Based on both fingerprint analysis and DNA typing, Tommie Lee Andrews was convicted of rape in November of 1987 and sentenced to prison for 22 years, making him the first person in the U.S. to be convicted as a result of DNA evidence.

How many years can DNA go back? ›

In fact, we can trace the mtDNA back to a woman from about 150,000 or 200,000 years ago that everyone on the planet is related to. And the Y chromosome to a man we're all related to from 60,000 or so years ago. Scientists have dubbed them Mitochondrial Eve and Y Adam.

How many innocent people have been executed in the US? ›

The death penalty carries the inherent risk of executing an innocent person. Since 1973, at least 190 people who had been wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in the U.S. have been exonerated.

How long is DNA evidence good for? ›

Unlike the human body that continues to change as a result of biological needs and hygiene, crime scene evidence such as clothing is typically stable. Therefore, DNA evidence that is recovered from such a source is likely to be detectable for many years and perhaps even decades following a sexual assault.

Who was the first person in the US convicted using DNA evidence? ›

In 1987, Tommie Lee Andrews became the first American ever convicted in a case that utilized DNA evidence. On February 21, 1987, a stranger broke into a Florida woman's home in the middle of the night and burglarized and raped the woman at knife-point.

What percentage of cases overturned by DNA evidence had eyewitnesses? ›

Eyewitness misidentification is by far the leading cause of wrongful convictions. Nationwide, 75% of wrongful convictions that were overturned by DNA testing involved erroneous identifications from victims or witnesses.

What kind of DNA evidence is the most powerful in forensic cases? ›

Advanced DNA technology, such as PCR, makes it possible to obtain conclusive results in cases in which previous testing might have been inconclusive. This can result in the identification of suspects in previously unsolvable cases or the exoneration of those wrongfully convicted.

Is everyone's DNA on a database? ›

Is everyones DNA in a database? In the US, the government definitely does not have everyone's DNA or fingerprints for identification. However, the FBI does maintain a database of fifty million fingerprints from criminals, suspected criminals, government employees, military personnel, and a few others.

How accurate is genetic genealogy? ›

Genetic testing companies use complex methods to determine your ancestry. But how accurate are they? For any two people in the world, 99.5 percent of their DNA is identical (99.9 percent for any two people of the same sex), yet it's only human to latch on to that 0.5 percent and seek out what makes you special.

Can Ancestry DNA be used in court? ›

The DNA you send in the mail through genetics kits and ancestry programs like 23andMe and Ancestry can be used by police in a criminal investigation, but it doesn't happen very often.

Is DNA evidence alone enough to acquit or convict a suspected criminal? ›

Is DNA evidence alone enough to acquit or convict? It is easier to exclude a suspect than to convict someone based on a DNA match. The FBI estimates that one-third of initial rape suspects are excluded because DNA samples fail to match. Forensic DNA is just one of many types of evidence.

Should DNA evidence ever be used as the only evidence to support a criminal conviction? ›

The lesson of all this research: DNA evidence is a powerful tool in criminal investigation and prosecution, but it must be used with care. It should never be oversold in court, and it should only ever be considered in light of other available evidence.

How has DNA testing changed the criminal justice system? ›

Forensic scientists can compare DNA found at a crime scene (from blood or hair, for example) to DNA samples taken from suspects. If there is no match, they may be able to rule out that suspect. If there is a match, police will likely want to take a closer look.


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