- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 18, 2017

New forensic DNA analysis that can create an eerily accurate image of an unknown individual helped cops in Texas solve one year-old murder mystery.

Ryan Riggs, 21, is charged with capital murder for the killing of Chantay Blankinship, 25, in May 2016. The man gave confessions to his local church and the Brown County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday after predictive DNA imaging released Nov. 8 breathed new life into law enforcement’s investigation.

“It’s a great burden off of our entire department, off of the family,” Sheriff Vance Hill told reporters, the Brownwood Bulletin reported. “It’s just a great feeling. I hope the folks in the county can be a little more at ease when they go walking or enjoying life with the family.”

Mr. Hill said Mr. Riggs was “never was on our radar at all” until investigators turned to a Virginia-based company called Parabon Nano Lab. Researchers used DNA evidence found at the murder scene and a process called phenotyping to predict the suspect’s physical characteristics and biogeographic ancestry.

“We got justice for Chantay and that’s what we wanted,” said Steven McDaneil, the victim’s stepfather, a local ABC affiliate reported. “She can’t be replaced. But we got somebody off the streets. I hope he fries.”

Mr. Riggs is also charged with illegal dumping. No bond has been set on the capital murder charge.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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