DNA Hit of the Year - 2019


No Longer Accepting Submissions

From a “cold hit” to a missing person case, did a DNA breakthrough support your lab or police department’s effort to solve an important case? We want to share stories of how you used forensic DNA evidence to find answers, identify suspects, and help make the world a safer place. Submit your case to be considered as the DNA Hit of the Year and help bring recognition to the power of forensic DNA databases to solve crime.


Accepting cold hit cases where the hit occurred within the last 60 months.




Highlights - DNA Hit of the Year 2018


Over 60 cases from 15 countries;
Selected case determined by panel of 7 international judges;
Top six finalist cases from: Arizona, China, Colorado, Massachusetts, Montenegro, and the UK;

Case selected as the 2018 DNA Hit of the Year:
The Melanie Road Case

On June 9, 1984, a woman was founded raped and murdered in Bath, United Kingdom. For nearly thirty years, police continuously pursued DNA strategies to solve the crime. The case was ultimately solved when a family member of the murderer was placed in the United Kingdom DNA database for a minor crime. A few months later, a familial search identified the offender and resulted in his arrest and conviction.


Sampling of 2018 Finalists:

  + Arizona Canal Bikers
  Two women went biking along the Phoenix Canal in Arizona. Along the way they were killed, mutilated, and sexually assaulted. DNA profiles taken from crime scene did not receive any matches with CODIS. A genealogist was hired 20 years later to compare the Y-Filer profile of the unknown killer to Y-STR profiles available on public genealogy websites. A match was found associated with a surname Miller. A Bryan Patrick Miller appeared earlier to investigators lists as a potential lead, but because he was not on the database there was no hit. Police followed him around town and eventually retrieved his DNA from a discarded drinking glass used by Miller, leading to a match.

  + The Case of Heather Hoffman
  A woman's body was found dead floating in a river in Colorado. Police recovered evidence from her body, including sexual assault evidence. Lab analysts worked over the weekend and recovered a DNA profile from swabs. A rush search was submitted to CODIS/NDIS and the state of Kentucky responded with a match. Colorado police were able to track the suspect down in town and arrested him.

  + The Case of Lisa Ziegert
  Lisa Ziegert was killed in Massachusetts in 1992. DNA evidence was removed from the crime scene but a match was never found. In 2016, the case was reassigned to a new detective who undertook a new strategy. He published a privately produced SnapShot report, which showed the likelist physical appearance of the suspect. This generated massive community interest, which eventually led to the killer and a life-long community resident to confess to the killings to a friend. After a court ordered a DNA sample to be taken, the suspect-resident fled. Police eventually found and arrested him.

  + Montenegro Sniper
  A man was murdered by a lone sniper while standing in front of a restaurant in Montenegro. Police determined the location of the sniper by tracing the bullet trajectory using the victim's bullet entry wounds. They found spent bullet casings at the suspected sniper position and swabbed the area for DNA. Amazingly they recovered a profile which led to a match on the Austrian database in 2017 with a Bosnian citizen arrested for suspected drug trafficking.