Public DNA Testing Used In Murder Case

Teresa Robinson

Homicide Victim Teresa Robinson

A 15-year-old male from Manitoba, Canada has been arrested and charged with the murder of Teresa Cassandra Robinson, 11. The murder happened in May 2015 and police have been searching for the killer ever since.

The case was finally solved after a massive public DNA collection effort by the Manitoba Royal Canadian Mounted Police that involved taking DNA samples from as many as 2000 people.

In February 2015, the RCMP unit in Garden Hill First Nation made a public appeal asking all males between 15 and 66 years old to submit a voluntary DNA sample for testing. Although the police will not give an exact figure on how many males were tested, they stated that as many as 2,000 people in this rural community could have been tested.

Garden Hill First Nation is a rural area with a total population of just 5000 people. Teresa Robinson’s unsolved murder has had residents worried for the better part of the past year.

Police Sergeant Jared Hall said that the size of the DNA testing effort was something new to law enforcement in Manitoba, but the project had the full support of the local community. Furthermore, he stated that large-scale public DNA sampling and testing could be used again in the future to solve other crimes.

On March 17, the police arrested a 15-year-old male citizen from Garden Hill First Nation for the murder of Teresa Robinson and within 24 hours of his arrest he was officially charged with first-degree murder. Due to the ongoing investigation, the police will not say if the man who was arrested was one of the people who submitted a voluntary DNA sample or if the DNA testing narrowed down the possible suspects enough to find the person who killed Teresa.

The person in custody is reportedly a local resident from the community.

Although legal professionals agreed that public DNA requests by police are entirely legal, some are concerned that it sets a worrisome precedent.

Attorney Jay Prober told news reporters that there is a level of psychological intimidation involved when authorities ask people for a voluntary DNA sample. Prober is concerned that such requests infringe on a person’s physical and civil rights and create a stigmatizing environment in the community for those people who do not comply with the request.

Police officials have stated publicly that the DNA samples and test results that were used in the Teresa Robinson murder investigation will be destroyed and the collected DNA will not be used in future criminal cases once this investigation is over .

A spokesperson for the Robinson family said that the family is relieved that a suspect has now been arrested and charged with Teresa’s murder and that there is finally some closure for the family.