Mother of missing girl argues for national DNA database
Published Wednesday, November 17, 2010 3:17PM EST
This Saturday, Nov. 20, W5 airs its investigation into what happens when a loved one vanishes without a trace.
Judy Peterson's 14-year-old daughter vanished in 1992. To this day, she struggles with questions surrounding Lindsey Jill Nicholls' disappearance. Peterson hoped answers could be found through DNA matching, but her hopes have been on hold as she waits for developments in Canada's DNA legislation.
In this Op-Ed letter, Peterson gives a passionate argument for the need for a DNA databank.
We are fascinated by the forensic science dramatized in TV shows like CSI, but did you know that Canadian investigators do not have the capability to compare the DNA of missing persons to found human remains?
Canada has a crime scene and a convicted offender DNA databank, but it is used only to identify criminals, not to link DNA from missing persons with unidentified remains. Although the software, technology and infrastructure for a missing person databank are in place, the government has been stonewalling its implementation for almost ten years, citing legal and jurisdictional issues. However, the delay really has more to do with lab resources and funding.
For nearly a decade, federal and provincial governments have debated, studied, analyzed and submitted reports. While they form endless committees and fight over who will be responsible and who will pay, human remains in coroners' offices across Canada continue to be unidentified.
My 14-year old daughter, Lindsey Jill Nicholls, vanished in 1992, and I remember the very moment I realized that her remains could be among those unidentified samples. I have the right to know if my daughter's body has been found, and Lindsey deserves justice and a proper burial. To this end, I have lobbied for the passage of what has come to be known as Lindsey's Law, which would allow investigators to collect DNA from missing persons or their close relatives and compare it to DNA from crime scenes and unidentified human remains
The quest for a missing persons DNA databank is not just about giving comfort to family members of the missing, however; it is also about the safety of your family and of all Canadians. Until remains are identified, the police cannot begin an investigation, so if Lindsey was abducted and murdered, her murderer is still out there
This Saturday night, November 20, the CTV news program W5 will air a documentary on this issue. I urge you to watch the program and visit the website www.lindseyslaw.com to learn more about the need for a DNA databank.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who is from your area, is responsible for the existing DNA databank. I urge you, his constituents, to contact him and tell him that Canadians support Lindsey's Law and want a missing person and found human remains DNA databank. Please tell Mr. Toews to act quickly, as recommended by both the Senate and the Public Safety Committees.
This will not only help bring comfort and the possibility of closure to thousands of family members, it could also identify serial murders and make our country a safer place.
After all, that's his job isn't it?
You can view W5's investigation online Saturday, after its television broadcast.