Greenville police chief on how genealogical DNA technology helped solve Julie Valentine case

Greenville police officers found baby Julie Valentine's body in a box in 1990. (Courtesy: Greenville Police Department/ April 4, 2019).

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina)- Nearly 30 years ago, February 13, 1990, a man picking flowers found a baby, dead and dumped in a box off Verdae Boulevard in Greenville, and for years investigators searched for her parents.

"We know that child has 23 chromosomes from mom and 23 from dad," Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller said.

Police had some leads, but no arrest in the case. Investigators named the baby girl Julie after the wife of the lead investigator on the case and the last name Valentine because they found her the day before Valentine's Day.

"They care about our victims and they care about people to justice for their crimes," Miller said.

The cold case heated up when police say they found Julie Valentine's mother, Brook Graham, and charged her with homicide by child abuse. Investigators say they used baby Valentine's DNA to help them.

"We were able to identify her father and her father lives here locally," Miller said.

Miller says advanced genealogy DNA from a database linked baby Valentine to her father, which led investigators to Graham.

"We're trying to use whatever technologies are available to help us better identify our offenders," Miler said.

Investigators worked with Parabon Nanolabs, which uses genealogy DNA from a database to try and link people to a family tree.

"If we can identify somebody more rapidly through the use of DNA technology, we can bring that person to justice and remove them from victimizing other people," he said.

Miller says this technology gives investigators and families hope.

"We would not have solved the case without it," he said.

It's why he also stresses the importance of how the way evidence is preserved, managed, and stored. He says it's crucial to cracking cases.

"I believe that we will discover new ways to use technologies whether DNA or otherwise to help us solve old cases," Miller said.

Copyright 2019 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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