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DNA tests - a query


LexiRevellian
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Hi, I'm a bit further on in my novel (some of you kindly advised me about handing in guns recently for the same story) and I have a question about DNA tests.

In my novel, a Russian oligarch dies, apparently of a heart attack, during the night. A woman, Aleksandra, assumed to be a high class call girl, was with him that night, and left about 3am. Forensics take samples of her DNA from the scene.

My heroine gets the idea that another Russian woman, Motya, is in fact Aleksandra, and this woman is a Kremlin assassin sent to kill the oligarch. She tentatively suggests this to the police with her reasons for thinking this, and they ask Motya to come in for DNA testing.

My question is this: what is to stop Motya from sending a ringer to do the test? If she sends an accomplice of similar build and age, are there any checks the police would do to confirm her identity? Or if she turned up with her passport, would the police just assume they'd got the woman they expected?

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When taking DNA we have to be completely satisfied with that person identity. Fingerprints are usually taken as well as DNA.

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Thank you - but what do you connect the fingerprints with? How could you be certain that the young Russian woman, who looks reasonably like the photo in the passport she brings with her, is indeed that person?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello,

I think it is difficult to answer your question if this is the scenario:

...they ask Motya to come in for DNA testing.

as this sounds like the police would simply send a polite invitation to make an appointment to give a voluntary DNA sample without asking any other questions. I have never carried out a major role within a suspicious death / murder investigation, so I admit my experience is limited and therefore my answer may be inaccurate. However, if the police received intelligence about a possible suspect in such an enquiry, then I don't believe they would simply invite that person in to give a DNA sample. There are lots of other intelligence checks that could be carried out into Motya, her associates, employment, address, movements/travel history etc and surveillance could be conducted on her, premises searched etc. By the time the police had Motya in a police station they should already be quite convinced that they know who they are dealing with. I can't imagine she would be invited in simply to give a DNA sample, if there is a reasonable suspicion against Motya then she may be arrested in which case photographs, fingerprints and DNA would all be taken, and she would be interviewed etc.

Of course if she is a Kremlin assassin then I imagine most of these enquiries would draw a blank, and it may never be possible to confirm her identity conclusively.

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Thanks, Henro. That is reassuring - it suits me that a Kremlin assassin would be able to successfully cover her tracks. I got the idea for the novel from reading about the surprising number of Russians who have died in the UK, all of them except Litvinenko having their deaths described after investigation as not suspicious.

My novel has moved on a bit, and Motya/Aleksandra has just surfaced in the Ladies' Pond, having been shot the week before. I got very involved with whether police divers use magnets or metal detectors when searching water for weapons, then realized I didn't need to know that for my story and made myself leave it...

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