DNA inconclusive in 1977 Girl Scout killings

Tuesday, June 24th 2008, 9:26 am
By: News 9


DNA testing of evidence from the 1977 killing of three Girl Scouts in Mayes County is inconclusive, Mayes County District Attorney Gene Haynes said today.

The testing, using the latest DNA technology, was conducted in private laboratories at Houston-based Identigene, under contract with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. The tests sought to establish a DNA profile of the person or persons who sexually assaulted and killed the girls. However, crime scene evidence was too deteriorated to obtain a DNA profile. Authorities had hoped the DNA tests would pinpoint one of their suspects.

In April 2007, the OSBI contacted Haynes seeking permission to test stains from pillowcases and evidence from a swab from one of the victims. Permission was necessary, because the testing would completely consume the evidence from one of the swabs. After consulting with the families of the victims, Haynes granted permission.

In May 2007, Identigene issued a report that no DNA results were obtained from the evidence. One month later, the remaining evidence from the pillowcases was returned to OSBI who sent it to Sorenson Forensics in Salt Lake City for further testing.

Sorenson Forensics also came up short with answers.

In response, OSBI sought to reanalyze the DNA from the victims. It was discovered that the existing samples were too old.

Last September, OSBI contacted Haynes' office for assistance in obtaining DNA samples from the parents of the victims. Samples from each of the surviving parents were obtained and submitted to OSBI the next month.

OSBI conducted DNA analysis on the parent samples and compared the results to the partial female DNA profile obtained from a pillowcase by Sorenson Forensics. OSBI reported the partial female DNA from the pillowcase cannot be excluded as being from one of the victims.

The District Attorney's Office discussed all the results with OSBI and then forwarded the information to the families of the victims. After allowing the families time to review the results, Haynes decided to make the results public.

"It is unfortunate the testing did not produce a DNA profile," Haynes said. "We had hoped the testing would bring an end to the debate over who committed these terrible crimes. The families of the victims certainly deserve an ending to the case. This is one of the most infamous crimes in state history. Over 30 years later, my office still receives inquiries about the case, as well as letters and calls, from people claiming to know who committed the murders."