Cat DNA tested at UC Davis helps solve murder case

Published On: Aug 16 2013 06:56:27 AM HST
DAVIS, Calif. (KCRA) -

Cat DNA, sent to the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis, became key evidence used in a 2012 British murder case.

In July, David Hilder, of Southsea, was convicted of manslaughter and given a life sentence.

Prosecutors say he murdered and dismembered his next-door neighbor. Pieces of the victim were found on a beach at Southsea, wrapped in a curtain.

Investigators found cat hairs on the curtain.

Scientists at UC Davis were asked to perform DNA testing on the hair samples in April. The analysis was performed at the Veterinary Genetics Lab, which does extensive work on criminal cases.

The lab is the only animal genetics lab in the nation certified to provide evidence in criminal trials.

The DNA was found to be from the cat belonging to the victim’s next-door neighbor.

“It’s always exciting when we hear how our work has made (a) difference in people’s lives, or helped put somebody behind bars,” said Beth Wictum, associate director of the Forensic Unit.

The DNA evidence, used in connection with a newly created UK cat genetic database, was used to secure a conviction.

Wictum said about half of the lab's work is for criminal cases involving horse racing, cattle theft, animal attacks, animal cruelty and homicides.

In 2000, the lab broke new ground by assisting Scotland Yard in solving a murder in which a dog was present and injured.

“By the trail of blood leading away from the crime scene, we were able to match to the suspect’s dog and place him at the crime scene,” Wictum said.


The views expressed are not those of this site, this station or its affiliated companies. By posting your comments you agree to accept our terms of use.
blog comments powered by Disqus