A True Crime Podcast Helped Solve a 40 Year Old Cold Case
One of my favorite podcasts, The Murder Squad, has helped solve a 40 year old cold case thanks to one listener. The Murder Squad is hosted by investigative journalist Billy Jensen and retired detective Paul Holes. Side note: if I ever go missing, call Paul Holes. Jensen and Holes actively ask listeners for their participation in solving cold cases.
In their recent episode they make the announcement that their first cold case has been solved. It's all thanks to listener "Jessi," who uploaded her DNA into the GEDmatch database in April 2019, it then led officials to the arrest of James Curtis Clanton, a former Colorado resident who was arrested for the 1980 killing of 21-year-old Helene Pruszynski. If GEDmatch sounds familiar to you, it's because it's what was used to help track down the Golden State Killer. Jensen and Holes are big supporters of people adding their DNA profile to online services like FamilyTree and GEDmatch that allow law enforcement access to look for DNA databases with the hopes that it will help solve a crime.
Jessi then heard from law enforcement in June 2019 who told her that they were looking for more information on her and her family because her DNA had similar markings to an offender of a cold case murder. Turns out her DNA matched at a third-cousin level, who she's never met. Jessi was never told what case it was, but she looked it up with the information she was given. She then deduced that it was Pruszynski's case after looking up cold cases in her county. She set up a Google Alert and got a ping in December of an arrest, then confirmed it from the officer who she was in touch with. Clanton was found in Florida.
If true crime is of interest to you, maybe you could help solve the next cold case by doing exactly what Jessi did and add your DNA profile to GEDmatch or FamilyTree. Jensen tells Oxygen that this is exactly why they started this podcast.