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DNA and the M-Vac Highlight of History Channel’s “Hunt for the Zodiac Killer”

These are a few excerpts from an article written by Steve Hodel, a NYTimes Best Selling author.  Fortunately, the portion where the detectives gained access to the Cheri Jo Bates evidence, and had forensic DNA testing done (which included using the M-Vac), escaped the wrath of the article.  Here’s how Steve started his remarks:
“As many of you know, I have been reluctant to watch the recently aired episodic miniseries, “Hunt for Zodiac.”
These programs, while billing themselves as “a search for the truth” almost always do just the opposite.
A fog of sensationalism is created to promote the myth and legend in overly dramatic “recreations” as the show’s producers play fast and loose with the facts in an attempt to present “new truths,” as “alternative facts.”  Each episode promising the solution is at hand so “stay tuned.”
And here’s where the article turned friendly:
Here is where the History Channel program, in my opinion, rolled first a seven then an eleven—The DNA.

The 7.

Riverside Chief of Police Sergio Diaz greenlit his Homicide detective Jim Simons to allow access to Cheri Jo Bates property for DNA retesting. (Last tested in 2000) The sealed Riverside Property was transported to the AISOCC DNA  lab in San Diego.


AISOCC Serologist Suzanna Ryan (seen in above photos) tested the pants worn by Cheri Jo Bates at the time of her murder for human blood. The result was “positive.” She then used an MVAC  (micro vacuum) in an attempt to recover a new DNA sample.
The results indicated that “A male DNA sample mixture was obtained from the victim’s pants and is enough to compare.” 
The show’s producers stated that the Bates new sample “is being sent to a respected DNA lab in Virginia in an attempt to develop a DNA profile.”

Although we haven’t heard of any reportable results, we are ecstatic that the M-Vac system did its job and collected DNA from evidence that was over 50 yrs old.  That’s a pretty incredible feat!


For the original article, click here.

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