New Rapid DNA testing helped police find Lizzy Shelley

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Rapid DNA testing is only nine-months-old here in Utah, but this weekend it proved its worth by helping investigators find Lizzy Shelley. 

Nate Mutter is an investigator with the Attorney General’s Office where the Rapid DNA machine churns results faster than anything we’ve seen. 

In the case of Lizzy Shelley, Mutter said, “We tested a beer can, a watch, and a sweatshirt. We got really good results on those items either in relation to the suspect himself or to little Lizzy.”

Where traditional DNA testing can take days or even months, Rapid DNA takes about 90 minutes. Because prosecutors had strong evidence, police were able to charge Alex Whipple even before finding Lizzy’s body, then trade a life-sentence for Whipple’s confession and her location. 

Mutter said, “If they didn’t receive the answers as quick as they did, I believe Lizzy would not be recovered yet.”

Agencies all over the state are utilizing the Rapid DNA machine for a myriad of items in their investigations. 


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