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Notable successes

Serial rapist in Dayton cold case gets 44 years in prison
Dayton Police Department
Between June 2013 and April 2014, four violent sexual assaults occurred in the Dayton area. Physical evidence revealed that DNA from all four cases came from one unknown male. Through the years, the case was worked but no suspect identified.
In March 2022, Dayton police asked BCI’s Cold Case Unit for help in identifying the serial rapist. BCI’s Criminal Intelligence Unit and Laboratory soon turned up an investigative lead on a suspect, and, in October 2022, DNA testing identified the suspect as Dayton resident Tiandre Turner. Turner was arrested the following month and charged with the crimes. In April 2023, he was found guilty on more than a dozen charges of rape, kidnapping, felonious assault and abduction, and was sentenced to 44 years in prison.

44 years later, family of slain college student gets justice
Loveland Police Department
Cheryl Thompson, a 19-year-old college freshman, went missing on March 24, 1978. Two weeks later, her partially clothed body was found along the banks of the Little Miami River in Loveland, Ohio. She had been sexually assaulted. Several agencies investigated without success. In 2010, Loveland police asked BCI’s Special Investigations Unit to work with them to re-examine the case. BCI lab personnel extracted an undetermined CODIS profile from the evidence, but no suspect was identified. A break came in 2022, when a BCI analyst using genetic genealogy found a potential relationship between the unknown DNA collected from the body and a member of the Howell family. Further genealogical research led to Ralph Howell, who had previously been convicted of abduction as part of an intended sexual assault. Howell had died in a car crash in 1985, but BCI exhumed his body to obtain DNA that ultimately implicated him. In 2022, a grand jury posthumously indicted him. 

Law catches up to rapist who was also guilty in infant’s death
Conneaut Police Department
In 2020, Conneaut police asked BCI’s Cold Case Unit to assist in a 2004 rape case. The victim reported that a man had entered her house at night, then strangled her and beat her with a claw hammer. At the time, BCI conducted lab work on a pair of black men’s underwear recovered from nearby woods, and on bedding and other pieces of evidence, but the testing generated no leads. Sixteen years later, as part of the cold case review, the items were retested. A swab of the underwear resulted in a CODIS hit to Joshua Gurto. He was convicted in May 2022 and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Five months later, he was sentenced to eight years in the 2017 death of his then-girlfriend’s 13-month-old daughter. He was charged with rape and murder but pleaded guilty to amended charges of involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault. His sentence expires in 2052.

Advanced DNA techniques connect murderer to two attacks
Franklin and Licking County Sheriff’s Offices
The body of 36-year-old Alma Lake was found on June 3, 1991, in southwest Franklin County. Five years later, the body of Michelle Dawson-Pass, 36, was found in Licking County. Both had been strangled to death, and both were left naked in a grassy area. When the investigations went cold, the Franklin County and Licking County sheriff’s offices asked BCI’s Cold Case Unit for help. BCI’s lab was able to develop a DNA profile of the suspect from the evidence, but there were no hits in CODIS. Investigators then searched the database to see whether they could link the DNA profile to possible relatives, which ultimately led them in March 2021 to Robert Edwards. A DNA sample from Edwards matched the DNA left on the victims. In 2023, he was sentenced to life in prison for killing the two women and raping one of them.

Discovery of skeletal remains eventually leads to jealous wife
Mercer County Sheriff’s Office
In January 2016, the dismembered remains of a young man were found near Grand Lake St. Marys in Mercer County. The investigation went cold until June 2020, when a BCI analyst connected the case to a 2015 missing-person report filed with Columbus police by the parents of Ryan Zimmerman. DNA confirmed that the remains were those of their son. In August 2015, Zimmerman — whom prosecutors said was "exploring his sexual preference" — had moved from Kentucky to Columbus to live with a man he met online. The man was married to Sarah Buzzard, and together they shared an apartment with Buzzard’s friend and eventual criminal partner, Naira Jen Whitaker. The two women had an intimate relationship and would later marry and move to Indiana. Investigators from the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office and BCI agents tracked down evidence from websites and social media and uncovered physical evidence that ultimately implicated the women. When she was arrested in August 2021, Buzzard said Zimmerman had ruined her marriage. Whitaker shot and killed herself before she could be arrested. In 2022, Buzzard was sentenced to life in prison.