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Davidmm
Username: Davidmm

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - 3:07 pm:   

Does anyone know why they chose to (attempt to) extract DNA from the stamp on a Z envelope instead of the back flap?

Many times I've been to the post office, paid for a letter, and the desk attendent would lick and stick the stamp for me. (Prior to self-stick stamps.) But I can't imagine anyone bringing an open envelope to the post office, or asking someone else to seal an envelope, especially with one of Z's letters inside.

Since Z's stamps seem to have significance, in all likelyhood he stuck them on himself, but the envelope flaps seem far more likely to be a storehouse of Zodiac slobber.

Wasn't the CJB confession letter(s) not tested because it had no stamp on it?

To my "Encyclopedia Brown" mind, it seems like the back flaps on the multiple envelopes should be tested to see if they are consistant. The back flaps on the CJB letters, the later TV station letter, and the Christmas card envelopes, could all be cross referenced and their connection could be established or dismissed with fairly decisive results.

Any ideas if this has ever been considered?
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Ray
Username: Ray

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 - 1:22 pm:   

David,

I don't know if you were around when we had the old board going on DNA, but there were many discussions revolving around

these types of questions. I'll put in my thoughts on your questions here, which are all good ones...

SFPD chose to attempt an extraction from the stamp for reasons unknown. I'd sure like to have been privy to the minutes from

the meetings that took place prior to the testing that may have shed some light on this. They did pick the correct letter to

test, you can't fault them there. But the flap has much more appeal because of the surface area it presents vs. the stamp.

Plus, one could remove the entire flap from the envelope without trying to pry, pull, or tease it off. Believe it or not,

there was only a small area of the stamp that was removed for testing. This was one of the problems I had with that whole

procedure, after the fact for sure, but one can't argue with me on the basis of the test results either! Think about cutting

that flap adhesive strip off and dissolving all that stuff on it.

I've seen many stamps applied by someone else too. And no, you're not being an "Encyclopedia brown". It would be absolutely

appropriate for them to test other letters and see if there were consistent results among the different letters.

Unfortunately, the whole testing process seemed to me a bit of a dog and pony show. SFPD had the case open and had

investigators assigned to it, but case loads for the inspectors and workload for the lab was controlled primarily by the work

required by current cases which would take priority. This was especially true for the lab. Apparently, Insp. Carroll and

Maloney worked hard to get approval for one test. And I credit Tom Voigt and this website/message board for putting enough

pressure on to force them into action. Unfortunately, when that test came back with only a partial profile, that was the end

of it. Inspector Carroll went on camera to announce that the partial DNA sample from the stamp did not match that of a

leading suspect. There was no additional testing done to try to improve the results, i.e. get a full profile or better yet

multiple full profiles that matched each other. This, in conjuction with the 20/20 piece, left in the minds of the most

people the conclusion that Allen had been eliminated as a suspect on the basis of DNA testing, even though neither Insp

Carroll or the lab director made such a statement nor drew that conclusion. It was rather to the contrary. That was simply a

leap made by ABC and John Quiniones so as to have a neat little wrap on the show. As I have said in earlier posts, if any

case cries out for additional testing it is this case. I would suggest that privately funded testing done by a commercial lab

could be the way to go, but now of course the case is closed and it's likely going to take new evidence to get it reopened.

Interestingly enough, there is new hope for future such tests:

http://www.fbi.gov/hq/lab/fsc/current/technical/20 07_01_technical01.htm

Ray
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Mike_r
Username: Mike_r

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Friday, January 12, 2007 - 5:57 pm:   

Hi Ray-

I agree that taking the evidence out of SFPD's hands and giving it to a private lab would be in everyone's best interest at this point. And they only have to analyze one sample IMHO (the reddish-brown hair), if they are inclined to be frugal about it.

With all due respect to the board, I think it was the glare of ABC's cameras that forced SFPD's hand in 2002. That plus the fact that Phillips infiltrated the lab and provided funding for the analysis.

Mike
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Davidmm
Username: Davidmm

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2007 - 10:36 am:   

Mike, since the Cheri Jo Bates murder is under another jurisdiction, yet possibly linked to Z, do you think that the Riverside LE could be "encouraged" to cross compare the letters' DNA with each other, and with the crime scene DNA?
If that established some conclusive link between the crime/confession/ & Zodiac letters, then it could domino into pressure for SFPD to analyze their evidence. Also, if the confession and followup letters have different DNA, we could also conclude that the Z's DNA had been identified.
It would shed enormous light on the Z case, either way, and Riverside treats the Bates murder as an open case.
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Mike_r
Username: Mike_r

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Monday, January 15, 2007 - 11:34 am:   

Hi David-

RPD could do a lot to advance the case. However, their politics may also dictate that they not do anything on this front in 2007, either. For years, they insisted that their "local boy" killed Bates. Then in 1999 or 2000, this theory was disproven by DNA that WAS of great probative value, since it apparently came from strands of blond hair that were found clutched in Cheri Jo's hand after she died. (See the DNA that may have been extracted from both the glue side and the "environment" side of an envelope flap in SF for a contrast of probative values.) When the results came in, RPD had egg on their faces that was caused by allowing "modern technology" to disprove their pet theory after being pretty smug about it for thirty years.

I do not know if the department is anxious to do further DNA work for fear that it may prove other things that might be "inconvenient" for them. They could, for example, compare DNA from the "Bates had to die..." letters with DNA from the envelopes of "The Confession." What if that DNA matched? How inconvenient would that be for a department that insists that Zodiac did not kill Bates? (The Confession has one detail--the supposed phone call--the would prove that it came from her killer. If it did and it matched the 1967 DNA, that would possibly link Z to Bates' murder. Now, I am not saying that I anticipate that such would be the case, given the textual/profiling analysis of the "The Confession" done by Kelleher and Van Nuys. However, RPD may not want to take that chance.)

To be sure, RPD could at least analyze the 1967 envelopes, which are widely thought to be from Z, and cross-reference that DNA to what SFPD has. But "could" is the operative word, just like at SFPD, which "could" do a lot with its evidence. I'd personally like to see the DOJ step in, gather up all the DNA evidence from SFPD and Riverside and get it analyzed without any further delays.

When I first came into the Z investigation in 1998, believe me when I tell you that I was as wide-eyed and green as they come. A true "amateur." But now I have learned to look at the case from the standpoint of the political liabilities of the departments doing various things. Sad but true. Police politics stifled a solution of the case in the 1960s and it continues to do so today, IMHO. I could tell you stories about my own experiences... ;)

Mike
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Mike_r
Username: Mike_r

Registered: 4-2006
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2007 - 3:11 am:   

Hi-

I read somewhere (but can't find it at the moment) that someone believed that the possible contaminant DNA from the front of the flap could not have overwhelmed the DNA from the envelope licker on the back of the flap (or something like that). The problem with that reasoning is that you are presuming that there was recoverable DNA from cells that may have been on the back of the flap! That is not a given. We don't know where the DNA comes from, only that they obtained it from the flap. The DNA that SFPD currently has could only have been on the front (or only on the back, or glue side) of the flap. We don't know.

On the other hand, the DNA from the little hair definitely comes from the little hair...That is why you analyze the hair if you are going to get just one sample for comparison to the suspects.

Mike
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Nachtsider
Username: Nachtsider

Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 2:00 am:   

Scientists should try producing a clone of Zodiac using the DNA from the small hair discovered on the 'Stine Letter' so that we may find out just what he looked like. We might have to wait a while for this doppelganger to reach maturity and hence get our questions answered, but it would certainly be worth the wait...

Sorry, people. It's the Genny Cream Ale again.

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