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Dutch murder victim Milica van Doorn. (Photo: Courtesy of Netherlands Police)

Dutch police have arrested a suspect in the 1992 rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman after asking over 100 men to volunteer their DNA for testing, authorities announced Monday.

The man accused of raping and stabbing Milica van Doorn before dumping her body in a pond in the city of Zaandam in the Netherlands was one of only two men who refused to give a DNA sample after police asked 133 men to volunteer, but was discovered through a relative who did volunteer, according to DutchNews.

North Holland public prosecutor Bob Steensma announced the arrest of the suspect, whose name was not released, and said that a compulsory DNA sample collected after the arrest was found to be a full match to the crime scene.

Initial tests of DNA traces found on the victim’s body revealed that her killer was most likely a man of Turkish descent—witnesses also described seeing a Turkish man cycling near the pond where her body was found, around the time of the murder, according to NL Times.

Using this information, police asked 133 Turkish men who were either living in the neighborhood of Kogerveld where van Doorn’s body was found, or had relatives living in the area at the time of her murder, to volunteer DNA samples to rule them out or to identify suspects through “DNA kinship,” NL Times reported. In total, 126 men gave samples, two refused (including the suspect), and police could not locate five other men, according to DutchNews.

Police emphasized they did not consider any potential volunteers to be suspects at the time of the requests, but hoped analysts at the Netherlands Forensic Institute could look at the Y-chromosomal profiles of the men and produce at least a partial match to the DNA at the crime scene, according to NL Times. While the suspect was one of only two who refused to volunteer a sample, DutchNews reports that it was the DNA sample of one of the volunteers that linked him to the crime, through genetic relation. 

Dutch police have used DNA kinship investigations before in efforts to solve cold murder cases, including in the case of 16-year-old Marianne Vaatstra who was raped and killed in 1999—about 8,000 men participated in the DNA drive, leading to the arrest of Jasper Steringa in 2013, according to NL Times.

Mass voluntary DNA testing was also used to solve the murders of teenagers Lynda Mann and Dawn Ashworth in Leicestershire, England in the 1980s, the first time DNA fingerprinting was used to solve a criminal case. British police arrested Colin Pitchfork, who was later convicted, after another man was caught admitting he had volunteered his DNA under Pitchfork's name.

Familial DNA searching, using Y-chromosomal profiles to find suspects through relatives, has raised some privacy concerns in the United States, with at least 10 states using the technique and New York’s Commission on Forensic Science recently approving its use for the most serious cases in that state. California authorities used familial searching to catch the “Grim Sleeper” killer in 2010, after discovering that his son was a partial match to the killer.

Ancestry information revealed about a suspect through advanced DNA tests has been used before to narrow down suspects, including through the creation of DNA phenotype “Snapshots” created by Parabon Nanolabs. In Germany, which neighbors the Netherlands, authorities have mulled the creation of a DNA database that would allow police to search suspects by genetic phenotype. The move sparked some concern that use of this phenotyping “risks unleashing discrimination against minorities,” according to a Nature editorial

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