18-year old Angie Dodge had just moved into her first apartment in 1996 when her life was suddenly and violently snuffed out. In 1998, a young man named Christopher Tapp was convicted of Angie’s murder. The prosecution’s case relied on Christopher’s confession. The defense argued that the confession was coerced and that the state was ignoring DNA evidence from an unknown suspect. Angie’s heartbroken mother, Carol Dodge, was left to wonder about the suspect still at large.
After years of seeking the truth, Carol Dodge watched Christopher’s confession tapes. Appalled by the interrogations, she reached out to an expert in false confessions, who in turn contacted the Innocence Project. But it would take several more years and the work of experts in DNA genealogy to find Angie’s real killer and exonerate Christopher Tapp.
The use of genealogical familial searching and its success in this and other cases has exciting implications for future criminal investigations. The public has shown approval for the technique overall; however, there are privacy concerns over the use of private genetic data to implicate a person or his/her relatives in a crime.
Join us at the quiet end for The Murder of Angie Dodge. By putting together a DNA profile and identifying relatives in the suspect’s family tree, genealogist CeCe Moore and a DNA consulting firm called Parabon were able to find Angie’s killer. Carol Dodge had been crucial in the exoneration of her daughter’s convicted killer, casting a bright light on the failings of our criminal justice system. If not for her determination, Christopher Tapp would still be an innocent man in prison as Angie’s real killer walked free.