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28-Year-Old Cold Case Solved With New Evidence

After tireless efforts by a victim’s relatives, a 28-year-old cold case murder investigation has been solved, according to recent reports. Donald and Ellen Criswell recently discussed the painstaking research required to find their niece Deanna Lee Criswell’s murderer. Donald Criswell described his “obsession” with first finding his missing niece and then with her murderer. Deanna Lee Criswell’s mother is currently facing Stage 4 cancer, and Donald Criswell wanted passionately to bring closure to the case before his sister-in-law passed away. The case, which authorities considered “cold,” was finally solved when forensics experts tied 16-year-old Criswell’s murder to the DNA of William Ross Knight. Investigations show that Knight had bought a bus ticket for Criswell before she met him in Spokane, WA. Afterward, during a crime-spree, Knight shot and killed Criswell. Knight died in 2005 from liver disease.

DNA and Crime Investigations

Even in the 21st century, a person may be accused and convicted of a crime he or she did not commit. Fortunately, forensic advances are helping authorities to more often find the right guilty party and exonerate the innocent. Some of the methods investigators use are:

  • Reviewing DNA samples from police departments and medical labs across the country in order to connect missing person cases with an unidentified person’s remains.
  • Sharing an online National Institute of Justice database with the public. The information in the database also helps investigators to match unidentified human remains with missing person cases.
  • Along with laboratory science, police still count on volunteering of information by witnesses in order to find a missing person or suspect.

Recent examples of successful forensics use include:

  • Solving of the 1995 murder of 17-year-old Krystal Beslanowitch in Utah. Forensics investigation tied her remains to Joseph Michael Simpson’s DNA in 2013. Simpson was later arrested in Florida.
  • Solving of the 2005 murder of Sara Lynn Wineski. The case had remained unsolved for several years until DNA matched the murder to Raymond Samuels, who was currently serving time in an Ohio prison for an unrelated offense.

What To Do If You Have Been Falsely Accused Of A Crime

Despite considerable progress in criminal investigations via laboratory science, errors such as mistaken identity and false accusations do occur. If you are charged with a crime which you did not commit, contact a criminal defense lawyer immediately. The attorneys at the Oswalt Law Group in Phoenix can provide you with excellent defense support and will work to prove your innocence.

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