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Dec 13, 2019

Forensics Department Provides Update on Annie Young’s Case

The disappearance of Anisha Young one year ago, continues to raise more questions than answers and her loved ones are no closer to finality on her whereabouts or that of her remains.  On Tuesday, Young’s family, along with Jose Luis Espat, who has been working closely with them to try and locate the missing Belize City resident, held a live press briefing on social media to provide an update on the matter. During that broadcast, several details divulged by Espat are now being disputed including the assertion that the relevant authorities, that is the National Forensics Science Service and the Belize Police Department, should have sought the family’s consent prior to resending samples believed to be Young’s remains out of the country for testing.  Earlier today, News Five sat down with Executive Director Gian Cho to get an official update from the forensics department on the matter.

 

Gian Cho, Executive Director, National Forensics Science Service

Gian Cho

“For that particular case, the original or the first results that came back in May spoke to the DNA profile that could not be extracted because the sample was too far degraded and this was made public.  Mr. Cowo, I believe, from CIB had explained as much.  Since that time, the family had reached out through the Commissioner of Police to the National Forensics Science Laboratory to attempt to try to get a, you could call it a second opinion, to see if it was something with that particular lab or something with the sample why they could not extract any DNA profile to determine yes or no, if it was that of Ms. Young.  So we were in communication with the family through their spokesperson, along with Commissioner Williams.  We talked about various options and we agreed that yes, we could try to allow, it’s not common that we hand over exhibits to private citizens to do their own testing, but it’s also not prohibited.  It’s something that, as a courtesy, we’re trying to the family to give them relief because at the end of the day we want them to have closure just as much as the police would want to and we work closely with the police in that regard.  So we looked at our other options, we have several options in terms of laboratories that we outsourced DNA cases.  Of course, you know, the National Forensics Science Services does not have the capacity to do DNA testing in country but our analysts and our crime scene technicians they prepare exhibits that would be outsourced to various laboratories and in the past we have used the Caribbean Genetics Lab which is associated with the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica.  We have used the FBI laboratories to outsource cases as well for DNA analysis.”


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