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tv   Our World  BBC News  July 18, 2021 9:30pm-10:01pm BST

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this is bbc news. the latest headlines. the german chancellor angela merkel visits the region worst affected by devastating floods. she says the world must act faster in its battle against global warming. she pledged aid for rebuilding the area quickly. translation: it all suggests that it has something to do i with climate change. we have to hurry, we have to get a move on in the fight against climate change. the uk prime minister and chancellor have made a rapid u—turn and announced they will now self—isolate, after being identified as contacts of the health secretary, who's tested positive for coronavirus. we did look briefly at the idea of us taking part in the pilot scheme which allows people to test daily, but i think it's far more important that everybody sticks to the same rules.
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though hard but a commitment to further talk until a deal is reached. american golfer collin morikawa wins the claretjug on his open debut after a bogey free final round. now on bbc news, our world. james clayton travels to missouri to discover how cutting—edge science has finally identified a woman who was killed 30 years ago. a warning — this programme contain scenes which some viewers may find upsetting. human remains, possibly a female, found lying near an unoccupied house. badly decomposed. hands and wrists still bound together. 30 years ago, a young woman's body was discovered in the american midwest. nobody knew who she was. it's america's silent, mass disaster, that there are so many people
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without names. she became known as �*grace doe' — one of an estimated 250,000 unsolved murders in the us. i was gonna keep looking. i did not care what it took, what i had to do. now, dna from genealogy websites is revolutionising cold case murder investigations like grace's, but at what cost? we have a multibillion—dollar industry unearthing the secrets of our genes. you have an absolute right to privacy but, at the same token, we have a right to not get murdered and raped. so who was grace and can america's dna detectives find out who killed her?
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i'm here in the middle of the us to follow a case that has stumped the police for more than 30 years now. and i'm particularly interested in it because the police are using a technique involving dna tracing that's revolutionising cases of missing people and also murder investigations, but it's also controversial. in december 1990, a body of a woman was discovered near an abandoned farmhouse in mcdonald county, south—western missouri. the victim had been restrained with six types of rope. the police knew she'd been murdered, but little else. it's gonna be 0scar talley road. all right, awesome! we'll see you in a bit. thanks.
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wow! this really is a dirt road. we are in the middle of nowhere. hi, i'mjames. nice to meet you. and you, sir? i'm gary from up the road. lovely to meet you. lieutenant hall has been working the case for 14 years. although he's driven by, he's never been to the site where the body was found. gary pugh, a neighbour who lived on the road at the time of the discovery, has come to help us pinpoint the exact location. so what was it — can you describe what it was like then? just an old farmhouse. of course, it was old and deteriorated. i'd smell this odour, i did not know what it was, it was kind of faint and i thought it was in the lumber barn nearby. so we are talking right here where they saw the skull in the grass and stuff. so the skull and the mandible and everything else kind of laid out back towards where
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the house laid this way with the main part of her body and stuff. for decades, there wasn't a single lead in the case. unfortunately, the autopsy didn't show any because it was so degraded, they couldn't show what all happened to her. they were not able to determine exactly how she was killed. you did not have a name, you didn't know how she was killed? no, they did not, and we do not know who she was. one of the newspapers, or someone in the news, said "by the grace of god that we would find out who she was" and the name stuck as �*grace'.
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we're going to learn about collecting osteometric data. grace's case was picked up byjennifer bengtson, a lecturer in anthropology at the university of southeast missouri. one of them is learning to take measurements. a specialist in analysing bones, she offered to help. it is america's silent, mass disaster that there are so many people without names. grace doe's remains were sent tojennifer and a new investigation began. so when we got the remains here, the first thing we did was estimation of sex, estimation of age at death, stature estimation, ancestry estimation. but obviously, this was an old case and it was unlikely
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that we were just magically going to look at these bones and knew who they belonged to. the case seemed as cold as ever. but on the west coast of america, one investigation was set to transform the way that law enforcement solves cold cases. investigators used publicly shared dna data to track down... the golden state killer wore a ski mask and left no fingerprints... how police used genealogy. websites to try to identify... cbs contacted other genealogy websites to try to... in 2018, the suspect for a notorious serial killer in california, the golden state killer, was arrested. after a murderous rampage in the late �*70s and �*80s, the hunt for the killer had gone cold. that was until an unusual technique was used to find him, involving genetic ancestry. ancestry websites are designed for people to find their genetic relatives through dna links, but the police realised
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if they put the golden state killer's dna into one of these websites, they could find the killer's relatives — a crucial clue. most ancestry websites don't allow law enforcement checks, but a few do. the one the police chose to use was a company called gedmatch. the golden state killer is almost a halo case for the success of the technology. so you upload the profile, gedmatch will give back a series of matches. and it basically says it will give you a name, an e—mail address and how much dna you share with that profile. so effectively, what they're doing is building family trees. so you have to build back far enough till you reach what they call a most recent common ancestor, and then figure out where the trees came together and then build forward from there. so by doing that, you're able to zero in on who the potential suspect is. the capture of the golden state killer was a proof
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of concept moment. the technique worked. so could it be used to identify grace? frustrated by the case, jennifer bengtson and her students managed to raise enough money to pay genealogy specialists 0thram to look into the case. 0thram was founded shortly after the golden state killer was identified, with a mission to solve unsolvable cases. you want to find hits that are within third cousins to make the case tractable. so we definitely had some that were within the third cousin range, but there were no straightforward matches that would be within second cousins. so that is someone who would share a great—great—grandmother or grandfather, that kind of situation? yes. just like with the golden state killer, david and his team drew up another family tree. they worked out a common ancestor — a shared great—great—grandpa rent. using that family tree, they developed a theory.
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when 0thram did their search, they came up with several different people that all share the same dna with the person who was found in missouri, and one of those people is called danielle pixler. she lives in topeka, kansas, so we've come here to speak to her. i think i was in my 20s when i started to, like, you know, get on facebook. as an adult, danielle was told she had an older brother and sister that she'd never met. she managed to connect with her brother robert, but she never found her sister shawna. i made posters, printed flyers. i would go into little, tiny towns. people thought i was stalking them. so where did you start putting these posters up? i tried putting them on the trees. it did not work, so i put
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them on signs — stop signs, yield signs. i put them on car windows. i was going to keep looking. i did not care what it took, what i had to do. so, ijust — i didn't know if i was going to find her or not, but i was gonna keep looking. by building out a family tree, 0thram was able to work out that, in all likelihood, danielle was closely related to grace doe. danielle was then asked by police to give a dna sample. it was a match. the murder victim was her missing sister — a sister who she'd always hoped to meet one day. i didn't know if it was her or not, but it sunk in because i know 100% it is her. the nightmares are bad. i feel like i was there. in may this year, grace doe was identified as shawna
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beth garber. these are the only two pictures that danielle has of her. well, danielle's dna essentially solved one part of this case, which is that we now know that grace doe is actually shawna beth garber. and that now raises a whole load of different questions because now we know who she is, we now have to ask what was she doing and, of course, who murdered her? shawna was removed from her mother and adopted when she was five years old, before danielle was born. so we're travelling to meet her older brother robert, to find out more about the family and what shawna was like. so robert always thought
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that he'd find shawna. and it's pretty common that adopted brothers and sisters would try to find each other into adulthood. and so this news that she'd been killed and she's been killed 30 years ago has hit him pretty hard, and i want to find out firstly how that feels but secondly, what kind of person shawna was, because he's one of the only people — that we've found, anyway — who knew shawna, can remember shawna, and the kind of difficult upbringing that he and her had. could this be rob? is it rob? yeah. hello, rob! how's it going? it's james. it's really nice
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to meet you, sir. how's it going? nice to meet you, nice to meet you. 0ur biological mother was... ..a little demented and rather evil, to be nice about it. and shejust... ..didn�*t take very good care of us and... ..i was the one that took — you know, was the target of everything until the incident that got us taken away from her. and that was way above and beyond everything else. she poured lighterfluid on shawna and threw
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a match at her. i'm sorry... it's ok. that... and that was... after that, i only saw shawna twice, maybe three times after that. completely lost her. she was the biggest part of my life, you know? there was part of me that's been missing since then. shawna was never given a funeral. instead, her remains lay in storage for years, in the hope the case would one day be solved. to put it bluntly, my sister has been sitting in a box
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on a shelf for 30 years. she won't be any more. advocates of this technology say it could be used to solve tens of thousands of murderers in the us alone, but there's a question of privacy here. do we want law enforcement knowing so much information about us? genetics isn'tjust any old tool for law enforcement, it's a particular and a potent tool because it's not like a phone number that you just change when you get too many spam calls or even a social security number that you might have reissued if somebody, you know, takes yours. it's a technology in its infancy. we don't know yet what it will tell us, how well it will tell us things about people. the big criticism of this
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technology is around consent. so after i get my dna tested, i can go on to gedmatch and i can upload my raw dna files to the website. here is the problem with that — i share dna with my relatives, and critics argue that once i've uploaded my dna and agree to law enforcement checks, i am — by association — also opting in my entire extended family. and using my dna, the police can link hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of my genetic relatives to a crime, potentially none of whom have consented to be on a database used by the police. shawna garber�*s link to danielle pixler came not because danielle had uploaded her dna, but because someone she'd never met, who shared some of her dna, had. once one person puts up their dna, they're essentially agreeing for their entire extended family to be searchable, and that's a privacy issue, isn't it? well, it's
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an interesting issue. it's not really specific to dna. so suppose you and i are room—mates at a home and i'm not at the house and the police come in to your house and say "james, could i please take a look inside your home?" if you say yes, you've essentially accepted that invitation for both of us. law enforcement doesn't access the underlying dna, but they do have access to the relationships that you would have to that unknown person in these photos. and that's the privacy concern. i think the thing that people have to make their mind up. you have two competing priorities here. the first priority is that you have an absolute right to privacy, but on the same token, you have a competing priority, which is we have the right to not get murdered and raped. what amount of privacy are you willing to give up versus, you know, getting increased safety in society? missing people and murderers are one thing, but there's another concern here, too — that this technology might be
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used for lesser and lesser crimes until it becomes endemic in the legal system. with severity of offences, you know, we hear about serial rape, we hear about serial murders, but there might be cases for using it in an immigration context or using it in a less serious crime context. we structure our society with suspicion—based reasons to intrude on people's privacy because we feel as a community that was the right thing to do, even when it means occasionally some crimes go unsolved. i think it is incredibly hard to say this — i don't mean to minimise or be dismissive of the claim — but we don't make policies about the civil liberties of our whole society based on the personal feelings of single victims or the needs of single victims. there are an estimated 250,000 unsolved murders in the us
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alone — a number that increases by around 6,000 each year. advocates of this technology say it is cruel to tell a victim's family that the technology's available to solve a crime but it can't be used. as far as the privacy, until the original company that danielle went through, until they contacted her and got her permission for them to give out her information, lieutenant hall didn't know who she was, didn't know her name, didn't know where she was, you know? i hope they find out who did it. i hope they pay. # 0h, say can you see # by the dawn's early light?
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tonight's big game on the big field is pineville, two, - anderson, one. in 1990, that was very unusual, to have a murder — especially, you know, one where we don't even know who the victim is and cannot identify. all we had was a decomposed body and skeletal remains. you could walk down the street or the road without any problems. it's like if i am driving around on patrol, always thinking "who brought her out to this part, dumped her? who did this?" it was always on my mind. do you think there is a chance the actual murder can be solved ? i really do.
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i think the murder can be solved now we know who she is. and try to find the people who knew her when she was an adult, and up to the point of the time when she disappeared, that would be crucial in trying to find out who did this. as far as unidentified human remains cases, if you look at the national missing and unidentified persons system, there are, i think, like, 13,000 sets of unidentified human remains. i think a lot of these cases are solvable. they may have at one point not been solvable, but now that this technology is available, i think that it isjust going to be solve after a solve after solve.
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injune, shawna beth garber was buried in bucklin, kansas, her brother rob and sister danielle looking on. there's still so much they do not know about their sister. they still don't have a picture of her as an adult. whatever your view of the technology, though, a family was at least able to say goodbye. you know, she will be near family, she will be near where, you know, we can go out and take care of her site. i suppose, if you think aboutjust how cold this case
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was, it's very unlikely that shawna's identity would have ever been revealed and the murder investigation could step up, if it wasn't for this technique. the process works, we know that, it is now down to countries across the world to work out whether or not they want to give law enforcement so much information, so much genetic information, about you and me. hello. the weekend has brought a lot of sunshine and a lot of warmth to the uk. some record—breaking heat in
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northern ireland. a settled story thanks to high pressure. some finds just in play to the north of the uk, tipping around... wednesday and thursday, it really is all about this high, dominating coast—to—coast. the front on sunday did feed more cloud into northern ireland and scotland, and also made for a cooler day here, and the fresher air, scotland and northern ireland overnight into monday, it would be much less humid. 12—13. temperatures in england and wales no lower than 18 or 19. a bit more cloud down the north sea coast through the small hours as the fronts just drift eastwards. tending to pull away from scotland and northern ireland, so monday we
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should see the cloud breaking up here. losing the threat of rain out of the cloud, and with more sunshine and the temperatures will begin to push back up again. england and wales actually perhaps a shade cooler than on sunday, but far from cold. temperatures in the high 20s as opposed to the low 30s. back towards the mid 20s in northern ireland and scotland on monday. tuesday, wednesday, thursday, it really is all about the high building, pushed away to the east, the fronts held at bay to the west. under the high, a case of spot the difference. tuesday, a little cloud across northern scotland. slim possibility of a shower across eastern england. if a shower does it could be heavy and slow moving and produce quite a bit of rain, but the likelihood is low. temperatures again mid—to—high 20s, creeping
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again mid—to—high 20s, creeping again into northern ireland and scotland. wednesday, more cloud for the north sea coasts. again the chance of a shower in the south—east of england. 0verall, dominated by dry and sunny weather, light winds, and the temperatures inching up again, 30 degrees in cardiff on wednesday potentially. thursday, more of the same. a bit of fair weather cloud, a bit more on the naughty coasts, if anything on thursday the risk of a shower diminishes even thursday. —— on the north sea coasts. 30 degrees on thursday. the end of the week, the biggest question of the forecast, just how quickly will this area of high pressure breakdown? somewhat tricky to predict exactly when they will break down, but into next weekend it looks like low pressure from the atlantic will start to dominate the weather. by next
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weekend, we are looking at the threat of thunderstorms, potentially heavy rain for a time, and also a much cooler story. the biggest question is whether that happens more on friday daytime or next weekend. as ever we will keep you updated.
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following a major u—turn, the prime minister is now self—isolating, after contact with the health secretary who has coronavirus. downing street had initially said that he and the chancellor would go on working, as part of a daily
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testing pilot scheme — prompting condemnation from labour.


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