A DeKalb County crime still has many people asking why — someone murdered a mother and son in their own home.
Several years later, investigators hope using a small piece of evidence can lead to big answers of the suspect of the two-year-old double murder.
The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office has followed up over 1,200 leads after Patricia Wilson and her son Robert were found beaten to death in rural Sycamore. Now, they hope newly released composite photos of a potential suspect, generated from DNA found at the crime scene, will help close the case.
“This is another lead with that we can move forward to try and help us come to a successful conclusion to this case,” said DeKalb County Chief Deputy Andy Sullivan. “[We hope we can] bring closure to the family.”
Investigators enlisted the help of Parabon, a company who specializes in DNA phenotyping to create the snapshot predictions.
“We can predict the physical traits of the source of that DNA,” said Parabon CEO Steven Armentrout, PhD. “[We can] make downstream investigation a lot more efficient.”
Police say the potential suspect’s sample sent to Parabon is from the Sycamore crime scene. Parabon director of bioinformatics Dr. Ellen Greytak says DNA is a blue print for a person and not much is needed to create a prediction.
“It defines our hair color, our eye color, our skin color,” said Greytak. “All of that is written in the DNA, the trick is to just to figure out what parts to look at in order to make those predictions.”
Sheriff’s investigators say because they don’t know how old the suspect could be, three different profiles were created. The composites are of what the suspect would look like at 18, 25 and 40 years of age.
“It’s not an exact replica of anybody,” said Sullivan. “The composite isn’t a picture of a person but it’s based on the characteristics of the DNA profile that we have.”
Sullivan says any lead no matter how small is important, adding these composite predictions have the potential to crack the case wide open.
“We’re hoping these composites generate a memory with someone within the public,” said Sullivan. “[We hope] they can remember something from the crime. We need to enlist the public’s help to help us with this crime.”
Dekalb County Crime Stoppers, 815-895-3272, is offering a cash reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible.