Genealogy services

Who is Marie’ ? Suffolk Police use genetic genealogy to identify 1983 murder victim

Who is she?

For years, Suffolk County police have been stymied in their efforts to identify a woman whose remains were found in 1999 buried under a concrete patio at a Bellport home.

Known only as “Mary”, she had been murdered in 1983 by confessed murderer Arthur Kinlaw, who admitted to New York police and – again in 2000 in a Suffolk County courtroom – l stabbed about eight times, killing and burying her in what appeared to be a rent dispute.

Now Suffolk homicide detectives are using genetic genealogy, a growing and emerging forensic technique, to try to determine the woman’s identity, Dawn Schob, a department spokeswoman, told Newsday.

A photo showing Arthur Kinlaw which was published with a Newsday article on October 10, 1999.
Credit: Newsday

Kinlaw, a convicted murderer serving a 20-year to life sentence in upstate Sullivan, has not released the full identity of the deceased woman and after her remains were exhumed, no useful leads has not been developed. In late 2001, Suffolk detectives sent the woman’s skull to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, where artists drew a sketch of what they thought the woman looked like in life in hopes of to discover his identity. Yet even after the sketch was released, the deceased woman was not identified, authorities said.

The genealogy method involves comparing unknown DNA to the genetic profiles of people who have submitted their DNA to commercial ancestry services like 23andme.com. The genealogist then searches for close comparisons in the DNA, then builds family trees that can reveal family relationships. Investigators then do additional work to focus on family relationships and identity.

Colleen Fitzpatrick, forensic genealogist with Identifinders International, said there was a good chance experts could get viable DNA from the Bellport remains, depending on the moisture content and of the state of the ground.

“We have DNA from remains from the 1800s,” Fitzpatrick noted.

Successfully used to identify 2020 Gilgo Beach murder victim Valerie Mack, genetic genealogy has been used in an increasing number of cases to identify unknown crime victims and murder suspects.

Valerie Mack, who also used the name Melissa Taylor, went...

Valerie Mack, who also used the name Melissa Taylor, disappeared in 2000 aged 24
Credit: SCPD

One of the most recent and high-profile genetic genealogy cases involved Dawn Olanick, who grew up in West Babylon and attended Connetquot Central School District until 1982, when she disappeared at age 17. year. In April of this year, the body of a woman found in a New Jersey cemetery in 1982 was identified through DNA and genealogy analysis as Olanick’s.

New Jersey police said Kinlaw had made a number of prison admissions that linked him to Olanick’s murder since around 2005. But investigators had been unable to corroborate Kinlaw’s confession. So far.

After Olanick’s remains were publicly identified earlier this year, Warren County, NJ District Attorney James L. Pfeiffer charged Kinlaw, now 68, with Olanicks’ murder. Kinlaw’s investigation revealed he attempted to recruit Olanick into prostitution, as he had done with other victims, officials said.

Olanick’s loved ones could not be reached for comment.

It was during his guilty plea in two previous murder cases in New York that Kinlaw admitted that he had killed Bellport’s wife, known to some as “Marie”, and buried her in a small grave on Michigan Avenue, Newsday reported at the time. .

Kinlaw’s wife, Donna, told police and a Newsday reporter that the couple put the victim in the grave and then covered the area with concrete. [Donna Kinlaw separately plead guilty in a Bronx homicide case, got a prison sentence of three to seven years and agreed to cooperate against her spouse. Donna Kinlaw, now 64, was released in February 2005.]

As previously reported in Newsday, neighbors at the Michigan Avenue address described the woman as being heavy and walking using crutches or a walker. She sometimes babysat for local families, neighbors recall.

Ownership records show that the Michigan Street address is currently owned by a limited liability company. No contacts have been listed for the entity.

Arthur Kinlaw is scheduled to appear for a parole hearing in February 2024, according to the New York State Department of Corrections Records. But even if he is paroled, Kinlaw will likely remain in custody as the murder case against him in Olanick’s murder makes its way through court, officials said.

"Princess Doe" is identified as Dawn Olanick, a 17-year-old from...

‘Princess Doe’ is identified as Dawn Olanick, a 17-year-old from Long Island, New York, during a press conference on July 15, 2022, 40 years to the day since her body was discovered in a cemetery of Blairstown.
Credit: lehighvalleylive.com/Steve Novak

The case of ‘Princess Doe’, a teenage girl whose brutally beaten body was found 40 years ago in a New Jersey cemetery but has never been identified, was solved earlier this year when police said the victim was a Long Islander who had been killed by a man. after leaving home.

Olanick, a Connetquot High School student who was 17 when she disappeared in July 1982, was identified by DNA testing as the victim of an attack in Blairstown, New Jersey, said James Pfeiffer, the Warren County prosecutor. .

Authorities have identified and charged her alleged killer: 68-year-old Arthur Kinlaw, who is already serving time for the murders of two other Long Island women. Last month, he was charged with one count of murder in connection with Olanick’s death.

In “Marie’s” case, officials say they can’t say how long it will take for the results to come back. It’s not uncommon to take months or even years sometimes to see results, experts say.