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DNA provides new lead in 1988 unsolved murder - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

DNA provides new lead in 1988 unsolved murder

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A Colorado Springs unsolved murder from 1988 is getting renewed attention after police on Monday released a new computer-generated depiction of a possible suspect in the case, thanks to new, state-of-the-art DNA analysis.

Mary Lynn Vialpando was found stabbed, her skull cracked on a boulder, and her body sexually assaulted in the early morning hours of June 5, 1988.  Her body was discovered in an alley near Colorado Avenue and 26th Street in Old Colorado City.  The discovery came hours after Vialpando left her home near Bijou Street and 22nd Street amid an argument with her husband following a family wedding in Pueblo.  Her husband was quickly cleared in the case, but crime scene evidence and witness accounts have failed to yield any chargeable suspects in the case.

Earlier this year, Colorado Springs Police sent DNA evidence from the scene to Parabon Nanolabs in Virginia, which is utilizing state-of-the-art technology to utilize the DNA to predict physical characteristics of a person, including hair color, eye shade, skin tone, and facial shape.  Currently, it cannot predict height, weight, hand dominance, or hair texture.  Previously, DNA evidence was used to check against other DNA samples already entered into a national database.  Now, the DNA can give investigators information about individuals whose DNA does not match anyone currently cataloged.  "This technology allows for potentially giving some different identifying markers that we haven't put out in the past," said Colorado Springs Police spokesman Lt. Howard Black.

"Essentially, the DNA is serving the role of a witness and the algorithms are serving the role of the sketch artist," said Parabon CEO and founder Dr. Steven Armentrout.  "This is good science that's been well established and we're just applying high-end computation to do it faster and better than it's been done before."

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