Feldman: familial DNA science helped catch my daughter’s killer

There is nothing worse than a parent losing a child.

Harley Feldman

Three years ago, my wife Elayne and I joined other parents of crime victims now living that nightmare. My beautiful and talented daughter Allison was brutally murdered by a stranger in her own home in Scottsdale.

What followed were feelings of tremendous loss, helplessness, anger and frustration as we searched for the evil monster who would murder such a bright young woman full of life and with every opportunity ahead of her.

Despite the hard work and perseverance of Scottsdale police, particularly Assistant Chief Popp, we had few leads after three years and no conclusion on who the killer was.

Through the investigation, I learned of familial DNA search technology, which might lead to any male family member of the killer’s family in the state’s DNA database and could lead to an arrest. I did not want Allison to become another cold case statistic.

Former Arizona Sen. Barbara Leff suggested I share Allison’s story with Arizona Rep. Maria Syms. Rep. Syms had recently sponsored and passed the mandatory rape kit testing law that required DNA testing and led to several indictments in cold rape and sexual assault cases.

Rep. Syms immediately took up the cause and worked with Assistant Chief Popp and Department of Safety Director Col. Frank Milstead to see if familial DNA search would be possible. Director Milstead worked with the Scottsdale Police Department to get the funding and resources needed to conduct this testing.

Thanks to the diligent efforts of all involved, we found a familial DNA match that led to the arrest and indictment of Allison’s killer. My family will be forever grateful to Rep. Syms, Director Milstead, Assistant Chief Popp and Sen. Leff for taking action for Allison.

We still have a long way to go as we navigate the criminal justice process, but the efforts of Arizona’s state, local and law enforcement leaders have given us some peace. It is my hope that familial DNA testing and technology will help deliver justice to other victims and families in Arizona and across the country.

I recently delivered this message to the 43 Attorney Generals attending the Conference of Western States Attorney Generals. Allison deserves it and so do the other families.

Editor’s note: Mr. Feldman is the daughter of Allison Feldman

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