17-year murder cold case is cracked by DNA match from a genealogy website
Benjamin Holmes, 38, is arrested for 2001 cold case murder of student who was shot dead in her apt in Orlando, Fla
Holmes, 38, tripped after three of his relatives signed up to genealogy website and police matched their samples to DNA found at the crime scene
Benjamin Holmes is accused in the 2001 murder of Christina Franke – The 25-year-old student was shot dead in her apt during a robbery
Her case remained unsolved until killer’s relatives sent DNA to GEDmatch
A lab that was working with police and had DNA left at Franke’s murder scene compared that with GEDmatch’s open database
They found a match with the relatives and police questioned the family, eventually, testing Holmes DNA
He was arrested him for the crime, and he’s now in custody on a single homicide charge
An arrest has been made in a 17-year-old murder case after police matched DNA samples found at the crime scene to those of the suspect’s relatives through a genealogy website.
Benjamin Holmes, 38, was arrested on Friday for the murder of Christine Franke during a 2001 home invasion. The 25-year-old college student was shot dead during a robbery at her apartment in Orlando, Florida.
For years, her case remained unsolved despite numerous attempts by police to crack it.
Those attempts included teaming up with Parabon Nanolabs, a DNA testing website who were given a sample of DNA found at the crime scene.
In this case, it began when one of the detectives in charge of the investigation submitted his own test. ‘I participated in an online ancestry website where they provided me a match of my relatives, those who had committed to the website also.
‘I thought to myself, “how can I use this in the Christine Franke case?”‘ detective Michael Fields said.
A year later, he started working with Parabon Nanolabs. Through their assessment of the DNA found at the scene, they were able put together a composite of the suspect’s image.
It was released publicly but no matches were ever made.
It was only in May this year, when Holmes’ relatives submitted their samples, that they had a breakthrough.
Christine [photo left], Franke’s family say they are grateful police never gave up.
At a press conference on Monday, Franke’s mother said she was thrilled that police never gave up.
‘I am so grateful that these gentlemen and everyone involved never gave up on my daughter’s case. This is such a happy for us. We are so overwhelmingly grateful for everything they’ve done.
‘I can’t say enough nice things about them,’ Tina Franke said.