In the USA, a man who killed a student in 1980 was convicted: he was found by DNA

In the USA, a man who killed a student in 1980 was convicted: he was found by DNA


Robert Plimpton and Barbara Tucker

Photo: Gresham Police Department

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Thanks to DNA found on a piece of discarded chewing gum, US police were able to identify and arrest a suspect in a 1980 Oregon murder. The man was convicted.

Robert Plimpton, 60, was convicted last week of murdering Mount Hood Community College student Barbara Tucker. writes CNN, citing the Multnomah County District Attorney.

The nineteen-year-old girl was “abducted, subjected to sexual violence and beaten to death” on January 15, 1980, the prosecutor’s office notes.

However, according to a press release she issued, the rape charges against Robert Plimpton have been dropped. He has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers intend to appeal his conviction.

Barbara Tucker’s body was discovered by students in the college parking lot the morning after she disappeared. Swabs taken during an autopsy on her body were used to create a DNA profile of the suspect.

Police asked DNA technology company Parabon NanoLabs to review the profile and try to identify possible matches. A test that predicts someone’s physical traits based on their DNA has helped genetic genealogists narrow down possible suspects.

According to Ceci Moore, an expert who worked on the case, while building a family tree of people who shared DNA with the sample provided by the police, she discovered draft cards from the Second World War.

“The DNA indicated an extremely high probability that the person who killed and raped Barbara had red hair. This forced me to focus on one particular family line and trace that feature. That’s what brought me to Oregon.” – said Cece Moore.

In March 2021, a genetic genealogist was able to identify Robert Plimpton as a likely suspect.

Investigators used that information to begin surveillance of Plimpton. At one point, detectives noticed he had spit out a piece of chewing gum and picked it up. The “extracted” DNA matched the profile from the autopsy swabs, so on June 8, 2021, Plimpton was arrested.

Moore calls the case “one of the highlights of my career in genetic genealogy.”

Earlier in the USA with the help of DNA installed the name of a pregnant woman who was found dead in 1992.


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