Police use DNA to construct suspect’s image in 45-year-old cold case

Newport Beach police used DNA testing to determine certain physical features of the man who left DNA evidence where the body of 11-year-old Linda O'Keefe was found. Image courtesy of Newport Beach Police Department

July 9 (UPI) — Police in Newport Beach, Calif., said investigators used DNA testing to compose a sketch of a man they believe kidnapped and killed an 11-year-old girl 45 years ago.

The Newport Beach Police Department, in a series of tweets posted Friday and Saturday, released new sketches of the suspect in the slaying of Linda O’Keefe, who went missing July 6, 1973, and was found dead the next day.

Though witnesses saw Linda speaking to someone in a turquoise van the day of her disappearance, police were not able to identify her killer. Investigators released a sketch of a person of interest in 1973, but 45 years later to the day, they believe they have a more accurate image of the man.

Using DNA collected from the crime scene, forensic scientists conducted what’s known as a Parabon Snapshot — which uses DNA to predict a person’s physical traits, including hair, eye and skin color.

Newport Beach Police used the data to create two images of the suspect — one as he might have looked at 25 years old at the time of the crime and one as he might look now.

The image release accompanied dozens of tweets in which the police department told Linda’s story from her own perspective.

“Hi. I’m Linda O’Keefe (or Linda ANN O’Keefe, if I’m in trouble with my mom). Forty-five years ago today, I disappeared from Newport Beach. I was murdered and my body was found in the Back Bay. My killer was never found. Today, I’m going to tell you my story,” the first of such tweets said.

Newport Beach police asked anyone with tips on the cold case to call 949-644-3669.


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