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Face for the Suspect

Police in Newport Beach, California, have used DNA left behind at a crime scene 45 years ago to reconstruct what the suspect might have looked like, UPI reports.

Eleven-year-old Linda O'Keefe went missing on July 6, 1973 and was found dead the next day, it adds, noting that at the time, witnesses reported seeing Linda speak with someone in a turquoise van, but that her killer was not found.

The Newport Beach Police Department has now worked with the DNA phenotyping company Parabon NanoLabs to use DNA evidence collected at the scene to develop two images of what their suspect in the case may have looked like: one at the age of 25 and one showing how he might look today. Parabon says its Snapshot tool predicts physical traits like hair, eye, and skin color from DNA, but the company notes that it cannot take into account environmental exposures like smoking and drinking or non-environmental factors like hairstyle, facial hair, or scars.

Parabon has aided police departments track down suspects in other cold cases — including the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg and of Michella Welch — using genetic genealogy approaches. The company announced in May that it identified people related to suspects in 20 of the 100 cases it analyzed that way. Law enforcement use of genetic genealogy has led to concerns regarding privacy.