Police use 26-year-old discarded cigarette butt to crack latest cold case in US using DNA genealogy websites

Thanks to a discarded cigarette butt, 55-year old Ralph Bortree appeared in an Ohio court last week, accused of the 1993 attempted murder of a woman, with prosecutors relying on genetic genealogy. 

It was the latest use of a controversial crime-fighting technique which entails comparing crime scene samples to DNA submitted voluntarily to ancestry websites.

Supporters believe the practice, which was instrumental in the arrest of the alleged Golden State Killer, could help solve an estimated 100,000 cold cases in the US.

But opponents argue it poses a threat to the privacy of millions of Americans.

In June, William Earl Talbott II became the first man to be convicted by a jury as a result of genetic…

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