DNA Labs International is the first accredited lab to use the ForenSeq® Kintelligence System to aid in the identification of unidentified remains

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DNA Labs International aids in the identification of remains that had been unidentified for 22 years.

Unidentified remains from a cold case with the Oregon State Police has officially been confirmed as Kenneth W. Heasley, thanks in part to DNA Labs International's newest forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) technology, the ForenSeq® Kintelligence Kit.

In 1998, Kenneth W. Heasley and Gary A. Gelsinger were out fishing when a witness reportedly saw their boat capsize and go out to sea. Gelsinger’s remains washed ashore a month later with his identification card in his pocket, but Heasley’s remains were not found or identified, until now.

In 2020, DNA Labs International received a molar from the Oregon State Police Medical Examiner’s Office. Scientists were able to obtain a small amount of DNA using a demineralization coupled with organic extraction. The quantity of DNA was not suitable for array-based testing. In 2022, targeted sequencing with the ForenSeq® Kintelligence Kit was employed to produce a profile for genealogy research. The profile was uploaded into GEDmatch PRO™ and returned potential matches used to build out the family tree. The unidentified remains were determined to likely be Heasley, and STR testing of a buccal swab from a relative confirmed the molar was indeed Heasley’s.

“DNA Labs International was integral in the resolution of this cold case; the Oregon State Police is honored to have worked with them closely to finally bring answers to the question of identity for this individual,” said Dr. Nici Vance, State Forensic Anthropologist & Human Identification Program Coordinator at Oregon State Police Forensic Science and Pathology Bureau. “Basic dignity begins with having a name, and DNA Labs International provided that name and gave this family a chance to begin the healing process they had begun in 1998, when Mr. Heasley did not come home from his fishing trip.”

ForenSeq® Kintelligence is the first targeted sequencing kit for FGG that is optimized for forensic samples and to maintain genetic privacy. “Our intent with ForenSeq Kintelligence and GEDmatch PRO was to demonstrate that democratizing access to FGG does not have to come at the expense of genetic privacy or be cost prohibitive,” said Brett Williams, Chief Executive Officer at Verogen. “This identification by DLI, the first accredited laboratory to use ForenSeq Kintelligence, provides a blueprint for how operational forensic laboratories can responsibly adopt FGG in alignment with stringent forensic quality standards to improve outcomes for their missing persons programs.”

About DNA Labs International:
Since 2004, DNA Labs International has been providing clients with exceptional quality service based on open communications, equal attention to the importance of every case, and accurate and reliable results every time. They provide the latest technology available to solve cases, such as Forensic Genetic Genealogy, SpentShell™, for fired cartridge casings, the M-VAC®, a wet vacuum DNA collection tool, and STRmix®, a software program that can solve previously inconclusive DNA results. DNA Labs International is accredited by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB), the country’s longest established provider of ISO 17025 accreditation to Forensic Sciences testing laboratories in the U.S.

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Jessica Arenson