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Dutch Cold Case Murder Solved After 8000 People Gave Their DNA

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the check-me dept.

Crime 513

sciencewatcher writes "A 1999 cold case rape and murder in The Netherlands has been solved. Dutch police asked 8000+ men living within 5 kilometers of the crime scene to volunteer their DNA so that the murderer could be traced through (close or distant) family members sharing part of this DNA. As it turned out, the man now in custody turned in his own DNA, resulting in a 100% match. The request of the police was discussed here on Slashdot in September. The percentage of people participating was closing in on 90%; in the midsize town of the victim it was 96%."

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Interesting (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027059)

It is interesting to see the different attitudes toward volunteering information to the government. If NYC asked something like this, it would be an outrage and participation would be roughly 1% if it moved forward at all.

Re:Interesting (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027141)

Lucky to get 1% before the ACLU (Or some other group) files suit to block

Re:Interesting (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027199)

"volunteering"...?

"You can volunteer your DNA to eliminate yourself as a suspect, and eliminate the need of SWAT kicking down your door to get the DNA."

oblig tsa reference (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027353)

you do realize people "voluntarily" let their children be molested (oh, the irony in context of article) at airports in this country, right?

sadly, I don't think there is a line anymore - we have truly become sheep who will do whatever big brother tells us regardless of cost ($ or rights) or lack of benefit...

I seriously doubt the reaction at fbi, nypd, etc is envy ("oh, if only it weren't for that pesky constitution we could do this!"), more like embarrassment that one of the most liberal countries on earth beat them to it...

Re:Interesting (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027409)

I don't know about their government but what I do know is that our government would store that DNA data forever. Not only that but they would share this DNA data with anyone, possibly including Insurance companies, and private corporations. Finally the last straw is that even if they don't just give the data away they will not take any consideration to secure the data.

This is why we don't want the NYC government getting the data.

Sounds improbable (5, Interesting)

dinfinity (2300094) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027061)

"As it turned out, the man now in custody turned in his own DNA, resulting in a 100% match."

If he was really the guy who did it: Was he wondering whether the DNA-research would work? Why not just turn himself in?

Re:Sounds improbable (4, Interesting)

Romwell (873455) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027109)

Well, turning yourself in is admitting guilt and is psychologically hard. This way, he is not directly admitting guilt (he does the same thing 90% of people in the neighborhood are doing), and there's a chance they won't get him, so it probably is much easier to (effectively) turn oneself in this this way.

Re:Sounds improbable (2)

Hardhead_7 (987030) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027121)

I wondered about that too. Of course, if a few family members had already donated, and you knew it was only a matter of time before they caught you, it might be worth turning in your own DNA so you can later sow doubt with a "If I were really guilty, why would I have turned in my DNA?" defense.

Or maybe not. Who knows at this point?

Re:Sounds improbable (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027477)

It's still possible that he is. I'm sure I could conceive of a way his DNA could end up on her body. While I doubt this is the case, it's only fair to let him tell his side of the story.

Re:Sounds improbable (5, Interesting)

RabbitWho (1805112) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027129)

If 96% of people had done it the social pressure might have been insurmountable. He might have figured if he was the only person in the village who didn't give DNA the police would investigate him and find him anyway, so he might as well give the DNA, hope that there would be a mistake, or hope that he could claim "If it was me, then why did I give them my DNA?"

Re:Sounds improbable (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027287)

If 96% of people had done it the social pressure might have been insurmountable. He might have figured if he was the only person in the village who didn't give DNA the police would investigate him and find him anyway, so he might as well give the DNA, hope that there would be a mistake, or hope that he could claim "If it was me, then why did I give them my DNA?"

That's why the US has the fifth amendment (and why a right against self-incrimination is a good idea in general). Not turning in DNA is not probable cause for an investigation, and if that is why they started investigating him, the case would have a high chance of being thrown out (of course, the family DNA might be enough to establish an investigation). I'm not sure what the law is on this in the Netherlands.

Re:Sounds improbable (4, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027181)

The guy had a wife and child. If your wife starts saying "Hey you should do this" it's probably hard to say no to her, even if you know it'll result in doom. After all, if you aren't the type who normally cares about or talks about civil liberties it's probably hard to come up with a negative response that doesn't sound fishy as hell.

Re:Sounds improbable (5, Funny)

nschubach (922175) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027225)

The guy had a wife and child. If your wife starts saying "Hey you should do this" it's probably hard to say no to her, even if you know it'll result in doom

If he had a wife like that, he probably did it because it would result in him being arrested.

Re:Sounds improbable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027315)

or just tell her you had (but don't actually do it)

Re:Sounds improbable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027203)

His evil twin?

Re:Sounds improbable (5, Insightful)

BLKMGK (34057) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027267)

The DNA matched DNA found on a cigarette lighter found in her schoolbag - not DNA from the rape itself apparently. It's possible in my mind that the guy is innocent of rape\murder and guilty of selling a schoolgirl a lighter or her guilty of stealing it. More details need to come out, this isn't "solved" in my mind unless they have DNA evidence from the rape itself that matches.

Mod parent up (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027351)

That's a VERY important point in this case. People hear "DNA" these days and automatically think "irrefutable evidence." But in this case, it's just further evidence--NOT ironclad proof of guilt.

Re:Sounds improbable (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027375)

The DNA matched DNA found on a cigarette lighter found in her schoolbag - not DNA from the rape itself apparently.

The DNA on the lighter matched DNA from the rape itself. The importance of the lighter is that it was sold during the time of the rape in that narrow area - placing the rapist as a resident of that area at the time, and giving high probability that a scan of all the residents would strongly indicate who the attacker was. If the lighter wasn't found, this search couldn't be justified as the rapist could come from anywhere.

Re:Sounds improbable (5, Informative)

bp+m_i_k_e (901456) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027389)

It was more than a lighter exchange. Matching DNA was found on both the lighter and on the girl's body. That led to the DNA-dragnet. Apparently, the suspect's DNA matched the samples from her body and the lighter.

Re:Sounds improbable (2)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027427)

The DNA matched DNA found on a cigarette lighter found in her schoolbag - not DNA from the rape itself apparently .... More details need to come out, this isn't "solved" in my mind unless they have DNA evidence from the rape itself that matches.

Especially when they're admittedly going on a fishing expedition through the entire town. There is no doubt that there would be other peoples DNA on her personal belongings. Probably several peoples DNA from various places. This is exactly the kind of thing people are afraid of when they don't want their DNA in a database.

Re:Sounds improbable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027435)

So true. Now they have a suspect and in Dutch news they said the DNA match in itself is inconclusive. But now they can interrogate him and try to get more supportive evidence. In the news they also report that they hoped to get a partial match through a relative. So even if you don't cooperate, but your family does, it might lead back to you.

http://www.nu.nl/binnenland/2961707/verdachte-aangehouden-in-zaak-marianne-vaatstra.html
Google Translate might help with the link.

Re:Sounds improbable (1)

Frans Faase (648933) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027449)

It is important that they were living in a small community. It already has been reported that some family members of the victim had contact with the man who had been arrested. It is thus possible that the victim knew the man. And even if they did not know each other, it is still possible that the cigarette lighter was passed on through a family member. Cigarette lighters belong to those items that are often 'shared' among people, especially among people that have some social relationship.

Re:Sounds improbable (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027459)

Even if it were DNA from the rape, I would have my doubts about their claimed "100%" number. Let's say it's really "only" 99.99%; they have 8000 samples, what are the odds that someone will match? Then you through in the fact that the 99.99% probably includes a truly random sample, which a small town is most assuredly not, and the odds of finding a false positive increase even more.

Re:Sounds improbable (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027471)

According to TFA, the lighter had DNA that matched trace collected from the girl's body. The lighter is significant because it was being sold in the area at the time of the crime, meaning that the murderer was likely local and not from abroad. This was what motivated the mass DNA testing - it was no longer a shot in the dark.

Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (5, Insightful)

concealment (2447304) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027071)

I don't like the idea of DNA dragnets.

Just because I'm a male within 5km of a rape does not mean I should be required to give up my DNA.

First, who owns it? Does it get destroyed? Do I trust government to do that competently? No: it will be sold to the highest bidder.

Second, am I coerced into doing this? Will they shame me publicly for not giving up my DNA?

Finally, who else knows about it? Is my health insurance going up because they've found I'm susceptible to lung cancer or AIDS? What if there's a way to tell if I'm gay or prone to alcoholism (hic)?

There's got to be a better way to solve these rapes than asking all of us to give up private information at the threat of arrest.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (4, Informative)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027125)

Assuming you're referring to this article in particular, let me define the most important word in the summary.
volunteer/välnti()r/
Noun: A person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.
Verb: Freely offer to do something

If you're referring to some possible future event that may or may not happen and is vaguely related to this, then please disregard.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027213)

I am not the OP, but what would have the police done if the murderer had not given his DNA? They'd have a much smaller pool of suspects on which to focus. What would life have been like for the 10% who did not volunteer?

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (3, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027235)

But when does it stop being voluntary? It's voluntary now. But a few cases like this will make it very tempting for lawmakers to move to the next level (making it mandatory for particular areas in particular investigations). And from there, to making it mandatory for the entire citizenry. And from there, to including scans for potential diseases in the database (for the public health, of course). And from there, to insurance companies wanting access to that info....and so on. Pretty soon you could be in a Gattaca [wikipedia.org] type situation.

Not saying this is going to happen, or that one step necessarily has to follow from the previous. But you have to understand why this particular slippery slope makes a LOT of people VERY nervous.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (2)

cryptolemur (1247988) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027417)

It's not that slippery a slope. At least, where I live, neither DNA collected for any research purpose or fingerprints for passports can not be used in criminal investigation, no matter what. That's the law.
Now, it can be argued that the law can e changed anytime "the government" feels like it, but then again, by the same logic the law could also be changed to require everybody to wear AV-recording devices 24/7 at the convenience of "the government"...

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027297)

Ehm... you missed the point where not volunteering would result in the police knocking on your doorstep.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (2)

menno_h (2670089) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027439)

Actually, the local chief of police said they wouldn't (on a show on national television). The chance of one of your relatives submitting DNA is so large that they'll be able to arrest you if you are guilty, even if you didn't give them anything.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027333)

Here's another word for you:

Definition of COERCE 1: to restrain or dominate by force
2: to compel to an act or choice
3: to achieve by force or threat

"Give us your DNA so we can catch a rapist" fits definition 2 pretty well, don't you think?

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027441)

Spot on.

BTW I feel compelled to point out this happened in the Netherlands, which is often held up as an example of European Enlightenment (TM) to be contrasted with a perceived lack of freedom in the United States.

Not that I couldn't see this exact scenario play out in exactly the same way here.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027473)

Doesn't that mean those of you saying we shouldn't volunteer are coercing us too? I'm going to fight coercion by volunteering my DNA to the police...

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027127)

Who said anything about being it being required?

Did you not notice the less 100% participation rate in the summary?

This was totally voluntary. If you do not like their answers to your questions you don't give it. Now stop karma whoring and read the fine article.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027133)

I don't like the idea of DNA dragnets.

Just because I'm a male within 5km of a rape does not mean I should be required to give up my DNA.

First, who owns it? Does it get destroyed? Do I trust government to do that competently? No: it will be sold to the highest bidder.

Second, am I coerced into doing this? Will they shame me publicly for not giving up my DNA?

Finally, who else knows about it? Is my health insurance going up because they've found I'm susceptible to lung cancer or AIDS? What if there's a way to tell if I'm gay or prone to alcoholism (hic)?

There's got to be a better way to solve these rapes than asking all of us to give up private information at the threat of arrest.

Me thinks he doth protest too much. Are you a murderer or do you think they will find you have the gay gene?

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027247)

A lot of your concerns are non concerns in lots of European countries. Health insurance? We pay for that via our taxes, so there's nothing to increase individually.

Being gay? Nobody gives a fuck.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

menno_h (2670089) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027469)

People were concerned about this, but the desire to get this case solved was stronger than any worry about the DNA.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027157)

These are worries that I would have as well. In the UK there has been a history of abuse by the police of DNA samples that they have taken in such situations, now they're permanently on a DNA database that is very hard to get off.

However the database cannot be used by any other entity such as an insurance company. The database holds markers too, rather than doing a full genome deconstruction. Problem is, that's today's policy, and databases have a history of being sold when a bidder comes along offering the right amount at a time the seller needs the money, regardless of the people's wishes within the database.

The idea of the dragnets is that hopefully a relative of the criminal will volunteer the information, and thus the real criminal will be caught as a result. Nobody expects the real criminal to actually volunteer the information!

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027403)

Problem is, that's today's policy, and databases have a history of being sold

Or being hacked and used for even more nefarious purposes.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

samuX (623423) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027171)

well your concerns are good but i think that instead of fighting the idea to give your DNA you should pretend that the dna will be used only for that investigation, that any information will be destroyed afterward and that - no matter what - it will be used against you from health insurance corp.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

dsnbaka (202190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027209)

This was a voluntary search. There was no mandatory need to give your DNA.
See it as a last effort to resolve the case and it was done because the DNA matching techniques have improved so that if a match in the family is found the search can make the connection to a small group (family) and search from that point further.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027217)

Sold to the highest bidder? Health insurance finding out? Holy shit you're paranoid. I'd hate to actually know you in person, you sound insufferable.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (2, Insightful)

Sydin (2598829) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027283)

If you'd taken the additional ten seconds required to actually read more than just the headline, you would have stumbled upon the fact that nothing was "required" of anybody. It was strictly on a volunteer basis. In some countries, and I know this is a shock to those living in the USA, governments still consider people innocent until proven guilty. These people were being asked to provide assistance to their police force in order to catch a rapist, and the vast majority chose to do just that. You'll notice that there's nothing stating the 10% who refused are behind bars right now, and that's because deciding NOT to turn in your DNA due to privacy or other such concerns does not instantly make you guilty of suspicion. The anti-government, anti-police stance on this website rivals that of a Ron Paul fanclub forum. Protip: Not all cops are corrupt, and not all governments want to slam a boot down onto your face forever.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

digitalsolo (1175321) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027491)

Not all cops are corrupt, and not all governments want to slam a boot down onto your face forever.

Absolutely true, but in the US at least, corruption exists in any police force of appreciable size such that I would not generally trust any police force in this country. Many police OFFICERS are great people. One of my best friends is a cop, he's a great guy. I still would not trust his department as a whole. FWIW, the largest infractions I've ever committed is downloading a few songs and speeding on occasion. I'm not a criminal in any real sense of the word.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027343)

A DNA matching test does not sequence your genome. I think your concerns about disease or drug susceptibility are overblown. They're just looking for basic patterns when they do these CSI style DNA tests.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (1)

benjfowler (239527) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027381)

DNA is not so useful for pinning evidence on somebody (many people can share the same fingerprint, however unlikely). However, if there is a mismatch between your DNA and the one found at the scene, the likelihood of it being you is effectively zero.

DNA is better for ruling people OUT than putting somebody in the frame. Following from this, it's entirely rational to volunteer a DNA sample, because it puts you out of the frame without a shadow of a doubt.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027387)

There's got to be a better way to solve these rapes than asking all of us to give up private information at the threat of arrest.

Who exactly was threatened with arrest if they did not volunteer their DNA?

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (4, Interesting)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027433)

There really ins't a better way. DNA really is our only answer to the issue of Justice in relation to sever crimes like Rape and Murder. People are falsely accused of Rape and Murder all the time, and occasionally we find out about it. Hopefully before we put them to death or destroy their lives. The end goal it to make it so that you cant do those things without getting caught. It's got to the point were Rapists have been doing things to reduce the chance of their DNA being present. Which also reduced the odds that a Rape would result in a child since I don't know of any way of a child being conceived without leaving some DNA behind. If you believe that Rapists are a result of bad genetics taking advantage of sexual reproduction to gain a marginal reproductive advantage then they are weeding themselves out. Ether they use protection to avoid detection, or they don't and they get caught. That along with free morning after pills for rape victims and you'll see a drastic decline in the people willing to Rape others. Murder is a bit different but if we get to the point where premeditated murder is unheard of, and are left only with crimes of passion then I'll be satisfied with the results. As bad as Rape and Murder is punishing Innocent people is much worse. DNA alone shouldn't convict, but it is a very good start. You're argument of "There's got to be a better way to solve these rapes than asking all of us to give up private information at the threat of arrest." is also a Red Herring. No one in the article was threatened with prison time for not volunteering their DNA. If you're stupid enough to commit a crime, and then submit your DNA voluntarily to be checked against said crime You're a Moron and deserve the Darwin Award. What they were hoping for was a Parent, Child or Grandchild to donate their DNA to help narrow down the list of possible suspects. Their was always the possibility that the suspect was already dead, or not stupid enough to submit his own DNA.

Re:Privacy issue: DNA dragnets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027437)

Despite the comments about "hey, it was voluntary", it would have become decidedly non-voluntary if there was a partial match with a close male volunteer relative. Or in countries with mandatory DNA sampling on arrest, such volunteerism simply makes manageable the number of people who have to be arrested on spurious charges to you get their DNA anyway. It's not voluntary if there's no practical alternative.

Idiot (0)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027081)

What kind of idiot who commits a crime like this would give away their DNA for free? Assuming he is guilty, did he do it because he knew if he didn't, suspicion would fall on him?

Re:Idiot (0)

pruss (246395) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027131)

I don't think that committing rape and murder correlates with high intelligence.

Re:Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027251)

Does anybody still use Raiser FS?

Re:Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027291)

I don't think that committing rape and murder correlates with high intelligence.

I do think that committing rape and murder correlates with high intelligence. Negatively.

Re:Idiot (3, Insightful)

Jesrad (716567) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027239)

Assuming the person arrested is not guilty, it could just be a false positive match. DNA tests are not 100% precise, in fact I read they are 99.7% precise only, resulting in approximately 1-in-300 errors, so in any wide-ranging tests with thousands of different DNAs all coming from the same area (meaning most of them had a lot of common ancestors across them) it was almost bound to happen. Imagine the uproar if TWO 100% matches had been found (and I do not mean homozygote twins) !

Note that roughly 1 in 10-15 person has more than one set of DNA, through chimerism - rare - or plain mosaicism - which is much more common than usually thought: that's part of how you can get "surprising" results of >10% paternity tests turning out negative in countries where those tests are sold over the counter. There are documented cases of botched criminal cases due to this, the most famous being Linda "I'm my own twin" Fairchild's.

And if he IS guilty then it may be one way to work up doubt into a future jury, using precisely those arguments. So, it's not necessarily idiotic.

Re:Idiot (1)

Nocturna81 (1427457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027277)

Actually: they found him because a family member of his gave their DNA...

Re:Idiot (1)

Nocturna81 (1427457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027305)

Never mind...the TFA is different then my recollection of the case on the radio..

Basic Statistics... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027083)

"The percentage of people participating was closing in on 90%" OR "The percentage of men participating was closing in on 90%"? This is why people typically botch circumcision rates, pregnancy rates, etc. Normally the question only applies to around half of the population. Of course, if the police are attempting to use the info to find family members, then "Dutch police asked 8000+ men" should be "Dutch police asked 8000+ people" (after all, something on the X chromosome could be relevant, too.)

Did he forget he had done this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027085)

I guess the bloke felt he had no choice given the number of other people participating in the DNA test.

Or just wanted to get away from his wife and two kids.

Sample Size (3, Interesting)

Jamu (852752) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027087)

I wonder how big the sample size would need to be to get two 100% matches.

Re:Sample Size (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027207)

That depends. If he had an identical twin it would be much smaller than would be needed anyway. There are also more and less usual combinations. Also if he were (for example) the only Native American immigrant within a 5km radius it would probably need a much larger sample than if he was of indigenous ancestry.

Re:Sample Size (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027255)

It depends on the number of identical twins in the sample.

Re:Sample Size (2)

coolsnowmen (695297) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027503)

(in addition to the identical twin comments), the change of collision drastically changes depending of the type of DNA comparison test being performed. Usually this is a function of how many allele's they are testing for.

Please tell me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027089)

that DNA only helps them find the suspect, but doesn't convict them? There really should be other evidence to tie someone to a crime. DNA alone should never be the majority of the evidence.

DNA is never a 100% match, right? Don't they look at certain markers? And that just places someone there, but doesn't explain the why or how.

Re:Please tell me... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027211)

I agree with you. But if the DNA match sperm on the girl's body, then it is pretty damning. You are right that an investigation should take place, but it is hard to explain outside of some type of consensual relationship and the guy not coming forward originally to help the investigation.

Re:Please tell me... (0)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027325)

But if the DNA match sperm on the girl's body

It doesn't. It matches a sample from a lighter in her bag, found next to her body. Not quite so damning!

Re:Please tell me... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027355)

You missed the part in the article where samples were found on her body as well.

Re:Please tell me... (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027371)

Here is the relevant text

"The decision to launch the dna appeal came after De Vries in May broadcast information about a Playboy cigarette lighter found in Vaatstra's bag which contains dna traces that match the traces found on the schoolgirl's body."

Re:Please tell me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027373)

Poster #42027089 here.

Possible explanations...
1. Twin brother raped her.
2. Who knows why, but she stole used tissue or a sock and tried inseminating herself. Then got raped and/or murdered.
3. Sperm only contains half the DNA, doesn't it? Relatives?
4. DNA sample mislabeled as someone else's.
5. She sat on a sticky toilet seat (so she has more than one person's sperm in her). Then got raped and/or murdered.
6. http://video.adultswim.com/moral-orel/making-delicious-glaze.html (Same logic as 1 and 5.)

Re:Please tell me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027399)

Correction to my above.
6. http://video.adultswim.com/moral-orel/making-delicious-glaze.html (Same logic as 2 and 5.)
As in, she then got raped or murdered after 6 happened, although 6 is a form of rape.

Really? (1)

Walterk (124748) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027091)

It seems rather unlikely to me that if you committed a crime you would volunteer into giving your DNA in this sort of style. Was it a full match or just based on a few key metrics, which seems the most common form of testing? It could be family of him, for instance.

96% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027095)

96% yikes, how trusting. There's no way I'd give my DNA up unless I was allowed oversight of it's destruction after the case was over.

Re:96% (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027189)

You can swab my tongue when you wrench it out of my cold, dead, mouth.

Re:96% (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027447)

No kidding. I need to pretty rock-solid assurance that the sample will be destroyed and removed from the database after it's checked. And a "we promise" from some yokel cops ain't gonna cut it.

Don't jump to conclusions (2)

sideslash (1865434) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027111)

We have to be careful treating technology like this as an infallible oracle.

- Technicians could have made a mistake.
- Our understanding of the science of genetic matching could be flawed in ways that we haven't come to realize yet.
- The guy could have had consensual relations with the girl (creepy though that is) and somebody different murdered her.

It's strange that he volunteered a DNA sample. Hopefully that's just because most criminals are dumb, and not because he's being wrongly accused.

Re:Don't jump to conclusions (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027275)

And since the sample was found on a lighter in her bag, "consensual relations" here might mean, "Hey, mister, got a light?" "Sure, keep it." He might be guilty of abetting under-age smoking, nothing more.

Re:Don't jump to conclusions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027349)

Apparently the DNA on the lighter matched traces found on her body, so hopefully they fully explored the possibility that the lighter DNA could have been from some non-sexual, non-murdery encounter.

Re:Don't jump to conclusions (1)

TheP4st (1164315) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027475)

FTFA: The decision to launch the dna appeal came after De Vries in May broadcast information about a Playboy cigarette lighter found in Vaatstra's bag which contains dna traces that match the traces found on the schoolgirl's body.

Re:Don't jump to conclusions (1)

Spamalope (91802) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027457)

- The guy could have had consensual relations with the girl (creepy though that is) and somebody different murdered her.

While (very) unlikely, maybe the guy had a drunken one night stand and doesn't even realize she was the murdered woman. He wouldn't know he had a reason to avoid giving a sample.

While it's very likely that he did it, it can be fun to invent a few alibis. Just after he left her boyfriend arrived, caught her cleaning up, figured out what she'd been up to and killed her in a jealous rage. Her drug dealer settled the score for her unpaid debts. He'd followed them home and waited until this guy left so he could catch her alone.

False positive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027115)

What would be the probability of a false positive if you take 8000 samples?

Re:False positive? (1)

Meneth (872868) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027485)

I've heard it's about 1 in a million, per sample. So for 8000 samples, it would be 1 in 125. Good enough for an arrest, I think, but not for a conviction.

Case Solved ? (1)

slb (72208) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027155)

I doubt a court has already given a verdict. An element of proof like DNA (even if it is a very strong one when properly retrieved) is not enough. A tribunal has to review these elements first to exclude errors.

The DNA test was remarkably accurate (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027165)

The makers guaranteed that the rate of false positives was only one in 8000. :-P

Solved? (4, Insightful)

The_Noid (28819) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027169)

Everybody in the Dutch talks as if the man is convicted already. He's not. The case is not solved until a judge has had the last word, and given the inaccuracies in DNA matching I'm very interested in what a judge has to say about this.

Re:Solved? (3, Informative)

jiriw (444695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027461)

Everybody in the Dutch talks as if the man is convicted already.

Ok .. this is so untrue...

This is the news article from the major Dutch online newspaper. Put it through Google translate if you don't trust my translations:

nu.nl [www.nu.nl]

AMSTERDAM - A suspect has been apprehended in the 'Marianne Vaatstra' case. The Procesution Councel (PC) confirmed it this monday morning.

...

The Justice dept. will not reveal any details for now. The PC and Frysian police force will hold a press conference 18:00 CET in Drachten.

...

The Dutch Forensics Institution (NFI) is currently performing a minute double-check of the identity of the suspect.
"For both PC and police force it's of major concern we only submit an official statement to the press when it's certain the identity of the suspect is confirmed without question by the NFI."

...

Moreover [the spokeswoman of the PC] emphasizes DNA will 'never be enough', "there always will need to be more evidence".

DNA database (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027185)

In Sweden we have the PKU-registry. Anyone born after 1975 has a DNA sample taken from them at birth, however it can only be used for your own treatment, identification of remains or research. So far they have kept their part of the promise of not letting it be used for criminal prosecution. Even tho as some would like it to be included in tools available for the police.

Solved? Not quite. (0)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027187)

I know this is breaking the rules, but I've read TFA. The DNA sample was found on a lighter in the girl's bag next to her body.

So the guy has some explaining to do (why does she have a lighter with your DNA on it?) but it's a long stretch from there to "guilty of murder". They lived in the same small village and probably saw each other every other day; there are lots of ways she could end up with his lighter, some of them even relatively innocent.

Re:Solved? Not quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027285)

I'm going to buy this lighter... or maybe.. ehh.. i should really quit smoking.. yes, I'll do it, I'll freaking quit smoking (puts lighter back on the shelf).

Re:Solved? Not quite. (4, Informative)

MeepMeep (111932) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027301)

I know this is breaking the rules, but I've read TFA. The DNA sample was found on a lighter in the girl's bag next to her body.

Not just on the lighter

From TFA:
" ...cigarette lighter found in Vaatstra's bag which contains dna traces that match the traces found on the schoolgirl's body. "

Re:Solved? Not quite. (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027377)

Ooops. Still, inaccurate information on /. - who'd've thought?

Re:Solved? Not quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027311)

Actually, the dna found on the lighter was consistant with that found on the girls body.

  the point of the lighter seems to be that it was available for sale locally.

Re:Solved? Not quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027337)

If you read the article, you would have seen his DNA was found on the girls body as well as her lighter.

DNA on the lighter can be explained away. But if they find it on her body (unspecified where exactly, so I assume its a significant part) you have a very hard time explaining that.

Re:Solved? Not quite. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027493)

Keep reading, FTFA:

"a Playboy cigarette lighter found in Vaatstra's bag which contains dna traces that match the traces found on the schoolgirl's body."

Why didn't he move? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027231)

I don't understand why did this guy not move out of the area years ago? I guess it just goes to show that most criminals really are stupid.

Small-town genetics (1)

ddtmm (549094) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027233)

In their small town of a little over 8,000 men, it turned out that everyone was related.

What's the rate of false positives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027241)

I was under the impression that the best DNA testing available still had a match rate of something like a dozen people across the globe having identical DNA, despite not being identical twins.

While a bit far fetched, it's equally far fetched as the guy turning himself in after all this time.

Not proven. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027273)

The 100% match is a 100% match on a small number of alleles.

However, the variation in these alleles are not as large as you'd expect: most combination of them produce something that will not be born. Families of people share more of them than you'd think. And outside africa, we're not very diverse (and getting much less so).

If all they have is DNA evidence then they have no case.

This is no different than some RIAA calling someone a thief because the IP address they used was the same as one 8 years ago that "stole" a song.

Didn't work as expected (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027281)

If I'm reading this correctly, the idea was that a single crime committed by a single man could be solved by the "voluntary cooperation" (let's call it "passive accusation") of thousands of innocent men. But lo and behold, none of the data from the innocent men actually helped to solve the case. It was, in fact, a simple mistake committed by the one actual criminal (offering his own, guilty, DNA) that solved the case!

Yet, if I'm reading this correctly, we're supposed to cheer the outcome as some kind of victory and ready ourselves for the next episode of "voluntary cooperation".

Nope, I'm not buying it. You want my DNA? Come back with a court order.

Prosecutor's Fallacy (5, Insightful)

McGregorMortis (536146) | about a year and a half ago | (#42027413)

I haven't RTFA, but from the summary, this sounds like a textbook example of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosecutor's_fallacy [wikipedia.org] , which is a special case of the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy [wikipedia.org]

If you have a suspect in hand, then DNA evidence can be pretty compelling. But when you comb through the population trying to find a suspect using DNA evidence, then you're walking straight into a miscarriage of justice.

Dna match followed by the ultimate challenge: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42027479)

"Where have you been on March 3, 1999 from 8 to 11?"

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