DNA testing can even reveal family secrets

Published 7:14 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Almost every week, we hear of another case of an individual being exonerated and proven innocent of a crime because of DNA testing. DNA testing is used in paternity testing and over the past several years we have witnessed how it has been an objective mechanism for determining a person’s ancestry. Essentially, DNA can provide an estimate of our ethnicity and the regions of the world where our ancestors lived. As a point of reference, DNA, is found in living cells. It is divided up into chromosomes, which are in turn divided into genes.

DNA testing is definitely playing a major role in our lives. It is actually not uncommon to witness DNA testing in action on social media. The major television networks have invested major capital in programming related to paternity and even maternity testing. Fathers are seen weekly on programs where they have challenged paternity of a child and via DNA testing have been given proof regarding their claims, or denials. It seems like only a few years ago that as a teenager, I would hear adults complain about paying child support. The reason being, their disbelief that they were actually the father. My friends and I would listen and laugh as they would complain about the judge, who would have issued the child support ruling. A common theme in their complaint is that when they would deny paternity to the judge, because the child did not look like them. In signing the order, the judge would say “pay the child support and feed them, and they will look like you.”

It is without a doubt that DNA testing is important to the criminal justice system in solving crimes heretofore, thought to have been impossible. Leading up to June 3, 1989, Earl Morris, of Phoenix, Arizona, had probably given substantial thought to not being married to his wife, Ruby.  Rather than divorce her, he took matters into his hands and took her life, disposing of her in the process. They had three children. Investigators, stomped for a period of time, processed the crime scene and discovered considerable DNA evidence that would be invaluable to the case. Morris was ultimately found guilty of the crime, but the DNA revealed a horrible family secret. Two of the children he had raised were not his, but the wife’s father, who was promptly arrested, shocking the entire state.

Again, it is obvious that DNA testing has become an important tool in the arsenal of law enforcement in solving crimes, even if the results reveal family secrets and dysfunction.