"It could blow up this case"
This is where things were at the end of 2018 when Wilkowitz's son asked her if she had heard of the Golden State killer.
As she had not done so, he told her that at the beginning of the year, the authorities had charged a former police officer with a series of rapes and murders committed in California between 1974 and 1986.
This case, the first to use genealogical genealogy investigation to solve a violent crime, has sparked a wave of interest in the technique. Parabon, who has not worked on the Golden State Killer case, has since helped police solve dozens of murders and rapes, led by the company's genetic genealogist, CeCe Moore.
Wilkowitz's son suggested that he contact Moore. She followed the advice, asking Moore, in a Facebook message, to consider researching Eve's murder. Moore replied that she wanted to help but could not because New York would not allow it. She promised to look into the case if her license was granted to Parabon.
Wilkowitz sent an e-mail to a senior official at the New York Department of Health who confirmed what Moore had told him.
New York "regulates private companies performing forensic DNA testing to ensure that all tests are scientifically valid and performed with the appropriate controls in place," wrote Anne Walsh, head of the Forensic Identification section of the department, Wilkowitz.
Prior to conducting the DNA analyzes necessary for genealogical genealogy, a company must obtain a "forensic identification" permit from the New York State Department of Health. The agency needs the license of all private laboratories seeking to "test materials derived from the human body for forensic identification purposes", to ensure that tests are performed properly, according to Jonah Bruno, wearing – the agency's office. Permits are issued for various test methods. Permitting is rigorous and requires regular training, inspections and proficiency testing, as well as hiring a qualified laboratory manager.
Parabon began applying for a license after the company received a warning from the Ministry of Health in 2017 for helping the New York City Police Department use a DNA analysis similar to that used in genetic genealogy to develop tracks on a murder suspect and the identity of a deceased. women.
According to Steven Armentrout, CEO of Parabon, the company has been trying to meet licensing requirements for over a year. "I think we are close," Armentrout said in an email in October.
This delay has frustrated law enforcement and some elected officials, including New York State Senator Phil Boyle, a Republican who represents part of Suffolk County and wants to remove bureaucratic hurdles to the state. Use of the genetic genealogy of investigation.
"It works, but for some reason, the Health Ministry is slow to make its mark and we are the only state that does not allow it," Boyle said.
Defense lawyers and privacy advocates have expressed gratitude for the restrictions imposed on New York.
Genetic genealogy is based on the same type of analysis used in consumer DNA testing, revealing a great deal of information about the lineage of people, including adoptions and births outside marriage, and their predispositions to certain health problems. Critics fear that the government will abuse this information.
Critics also fear that people who have shared their profiles on public databases do not understand that they can be used to arrest a family member. And they are worried about the misuse of technology by unqualified or unscrupulous people.
"It's easy to say, it's terrible, New Yorkers do not have access to justice, and victims feel it," said NYU law professor Erin Murphy, who is studying the law. increasing use of DNA testing in the criminal justice system. But the system "plays with fire" by treating genetic genealogy "as if nothing had happened," she added.
"Private companies and government agencies have access to our genomic material and we are moving in the dark. I understand the urgency, but we have to take a break, "Murphy said.
Moore, of Parabon, said she "was anxious" to work on the Wilkowitz case – assuming the suspect had enough DNA for advanced analysis. She also said that she understood the need for regulation. "However, for a new technology like this, there must be a way to send it quickly to approval so that families do not wait," Moore said. "And it's a matter of public safety."
Beyrer said that if the genetic genealogy of investigation becomes an option, the Wilkowitz affair would be one of the first unsolved murders he would like to submit. It's the only cold case he keeps records in his office. "Genetic genealogy is a big step forward and could break this story," he said.
Wilkowitz has just been divorced and his children have left Long Island. She recently moved to Rhode Island, where she works in a daycare. The experience forced her to parry her belongings. In her temporary living space, at a friend's house, she keeps a framed picture of her and Eve standing in front of their door in Oakdale, one of their last pictures together.
In a storage box, there is a portrait of his family well before the murder. There are snapshots of Eve at different ages, until shortly before her death. There is a bag full of clothing labels on which is engraved the name of Eve, saved by their mother when they were young children.
These are the only memories of his sister.