DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Through the use of DNA engineering and genetic genealogy, Coley McCraney, a man with no criminal background, has been connected to the Beasley-Hawlett murder case.
In August 2018, the Ozark Police Department was prompted by the Golden State Killer’s capture (done through genetic genealogy) to take another look at the 20-year-old cold case.
Investigators sent evidence from the crime scene to Parabon NanoLabs — a Virginia-based company that specializes in DNA engineering.
According to Parabon’s website, genetic genealogy has traditionally been used to find relatives and to build family trees. However, it can also be used to identify unknown individuals by connecting them to their family members’ DNA.
Parabon then compiled a list of people with possible matches to the DNA found at Beasley and Hawlett’s crime scene.
Once investigators received that list, they recognized one of the names.
Police then brought the suspect in for a swab test and sent those results to Parabon.
Three weeks later, the company matched the swab test sample to 45-year-old Coley McCraney.
The Alabama State Lab later confirmed the match.
ABC News contributed to this report.