Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD

Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD

Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD is an internationally recognized forensic genealogist and pioneer in the development of forensic genetic genealogy for solving violent crime and unknown person cold cases.

Dr. Fitzpatrick has collaborated with the top organizations in the field, including the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, the US Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Office, the Australian Federal Police, and law enforcement agencies nationwide.

As a Co-Founder and former Co-Executive Director of the DNA Doe Project (2017-2020) she led the team that solved the first two cold cases using genetic genealogy autosomal SNP testing. The Joseph Newton Chandler III and Buckskin Girl cases were solved several weeks before the Golden State Killer was identified using similar methods bringing widespread media attention to the field.

Colleen always has fabulous stories and case studies to share Come join us in person at the Huntington Beach Library, or on Zoom.

June 1, 2024
Hybrid Meeting and Webinar
In person with Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD

Please register whether you plan to attend in person at the library
or virtually via Zoom:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about
joining the Zoom meeting. The Library opens at 9:00 am for in-person attendees.

10:10 AM PDT - The Inside Story about Forensic Genetic Genealogy

Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) has emerged as a game-changer for solving violent crimes and for identifying unidentified human remains. This talk discusses how the FGG revolution came about based on over 20 years of conventional genetic genealogy practices. It also includes simple case studies that illustrate the methodologies used to solve cold cases based on FGG. Although FGG has many similarities with standard genetic genealogy techniques applied to cases of misattributed paternity, these forensic case studies provide insight on how FGG can generate investigative leads that must be handed over to law enforcement to move forward with the legal identification process.

Audience Level: All levels.
Category: Methodology

Case studies presented in this talk may include:

1972 Julie Hanson Homicide

The oldest John Doe case in NCMEC solved using FGG

The Somerton Man Australia's oldest cold case solved using FGG

11:15 AM PDT - The Warsaw Ghetto Baby - Who Am I? What is My Name?

Pnina Gutman is in her 70s and lives in Israel. She leads a normal life as a mother, a grandmother, and a great grandmother, but she has an unusual story. Pnina was smuggled from the Warsaw Ghetto in late 1942 when she was an infant and hidden on the Aryan side by Charlotte Rebhun, a Christian woman from Berlin. Although Pnina's life was saved, her identity was lost.

This talk discusses the research our international group has done since 2012 to recover that identity, drawing on resources in Israel, the US, the UK, Poland, and Germany. We also discuss how DNA played a key role in identifying Pnina's first cousin once removed in Manhattan, and how that cousin provided a collection of family photos that led us to narrow the focus down to just two possible families.

For further reading:

Who Am I, What is My Name? Part XII Taking Stock

Speaker Handouts, when available, can be found in OCCGS Members Only on the Speaker Handouts page.



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Orange County California Genealogical Society
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