Canada's national DNA database to finally include missing people

From CTV - March 13, 2018

After years of pressure from families, the federal government is finally including the DNA of missing persons in a national databanka move that could help solve decades-old cold cases across Canada.

The new national missing persons DNA program, announced Monday by Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, allows the RCMP to expand its national DNA data bank to include DNA from missing persons, the families of missing persons and unidentified human remains.

The registry will also include DNA samples from victims of crime, which could help identify repeat offenders, and DNA from voluntary donors who may be able to advance a criminal investigation.

While the vast majority of missing persons are located within days, some are not. These cases are heart-wrenching for family and friends, and potentially dangerous in cases of foul-play, Goodale said in a statement.

The very first DNA sample uploaded into the database is from Lindsey Nicholls, a 14-year-old girl who went missing on Aug. 2, 1993 on Vancouver Island. After years of searching, the case has gone cold.

Lindseys mother, Judy Peterson, has lobbied the government for years to adopt a national network. To honour her dedication, the legislative amendments to the DNA Identification Act were named Lindseys Law.

When I heard the news, its almost unbelievable, Peterson told CTV News Channel Tuesday.

The new approach essentially streamlines the RCMPs DNA searches. Coroners, police and medical examiners across the country will be able to upload DNA profiles into a single, centralized location. The DNA can come from many sources, including human remains, hair samples or a toothbrush.


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