Thomas Ashlock for Unsplash

A grant awarded to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office is helping to solve cold cases in Dallas and nationwide.

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Season of Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to providing funding to law enforcement agencies and families to help solve cold cases, awarded Leighton D’Antoni from the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office funds for DNA testing and genealogical research by a program called DNA Solves by the Othram company.

Mary Hague Kelly

D’Antoni says that grant and those programs are to thank for an arrest in the 30-plus-year old murder case of Mary Hague Kelly, an Oak Cliff resident murdered in her home 33 years ago, which we reported on last week.

D’Antoni said in a press release from Othram that countless people had put in hundreds of hours of investigative work on the Mary Kelly cold case murder, but “Othram performed the necessary forensic testing and was able to put those results to work identifying our suspect.”

According to a press release from Othram, Dallas detectives sent forensic DNA evidence from the crime scene to Othram, which is located near Houston, and Othram scientists used a proprietary process called Forensic-Grade Genome (FGG) sequencing to develop a genealogical profile.

“Othram’s in-house genealogy team used the DNA profile to perform a genealogical search and were able to produce investigative leads that were submitted back to the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office,” an Othram spokesperson explained.

Attorney D’Antoni says tough cases like this often cannot be solved without this kind of advanced technology and that FGG is the “wave of the future to solve countless cold cases.”

“As soon as we discovered the investigative breakthrough potentials FGG offered, working with Othram and Season of Justice became a no-brainer,” D’Antoni says. “Their results across the country speak for themselves.”

Earlier this year Othram helped determine the identity of a long-unknown Dallas man.

And last year they also helped determine the identity of a previously unknown hiker in Montana who turned out to be a Dallas man.

D’Antoni adds that he hopes the Mary Kelly case is “just the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to bringing criminals to justice through DNA evidence and testing.