Technology reconstructs person's facial features using DNA sample

Technology reconstructs person's facial features using DNA sample

New DNA technology can create a composite picture of a person from a sample of their DNA, predicting their skin color, eye color, hair color, if they have freckles, and the morphology of their face.

"It's the same kind of information that an eye-witness would provide. It's sort of a genetic witness if you will," said company founder, Steven Armentrout.

Before this technology, Investigators could take a DNA sample and run it through a database hoping for a hit, but without a match the investigation would hit a brick wall. This new DNA technology is revolutionizing the way law enforcement cracks cold cases.

A company in Virginia called Parabon released the new technology December 2014. It's called "Snapshot." The computer program predicts what someone looks like by basically reverse engineering the genetic code.

"We're looking at things that are heritable, so skin color, eye color, things that an individual would know about themselves just by simply looking in a mirror or by knowing something about their family lineage," said Paula Armentrout, Parabon vice president.

It compares the DNA with other individuals in the database from all over the world.

"It's been very well received by the law enforcement community because we're giving them information that they've never had access to before, but they've always wanted," said Paula Armentrout.

Based on a DNA sample taken from the crime scene, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office authorities believe that the person who killed Sierra Bouzigard in 2009 is a white male, Sheriff Tony Mancuso said at a Tuesday news conference.

Mancuso said that detectives initially believed Bouzigard's attacker was a Hispanic male because she was with several Hispanic males the night she died.

However, new advances in DNA testing have allowed authorities to focus on a white male with green, or possibly blue, eyes, Mancuso said. It also ruled out that Bouzigard's attacker was a Hispanic or African-American male.

The mother of Sierra Bouzigard, Dana Bouzigard, told us over the phone that the new picture of her daughter's killer does look familiar and she says she has her own suspicions as to who he may be. She is working with authorities on this investigation.

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