Fetal DNA Nails Rapist

18 Dec

AJ Kelly dodged a bullet. For a while anyway. Until evidence that he thought was long gone pointed the proverbial legal finger directly at him.

It seems that Kelly lived with a woman and her six children, two of which he had fathered. He turned his eye toward one of the woman’s daughters, an 11-year-old sixth grader. He raped her, passing along a STD and a pregnancy. He then apparently threatened the girl and her mother into silence and the girl, who had initially said that Kelly was the father of her unborn child, changed her story and blamed some anonymous teenager. The police were suspicious but could do little.

The young girl eventually lost the child in a stillbirth and the aborted fetus was cremated. Kelly was free and clear. There was no evidence to connect him to his criminal activity.

But bad people repeatedly do bad things. It seems that Kelly and the woman got into an argument one night and the police were called for this domestic dispute. The woman shouted at Kelly, saying he had raped and impregnated her daughter. When the police heard this, their suspicions moved once again to the front burner. But they still had no proof. How were they to hang anything on Kelly?

It turns out that when the young girl suffered the spontaneous abortion, she was taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Center. As they do with all such stillbirths, the hospital kept blood and tissue samples from the stillborn child just in case there is a future need to know what caused the loss of the child. Maybe some disease process or genetic defect that known about ahead of time could save the mother from going through a similar event in the future. The hospital did not do DNA profiling, but rather stored the samples in a refrigerated area where thousands of such samples were maintained.

Now that Kelly was a suspect in the rape and impregnation of the young girl, DNA profiling was obtained from the fetal materials, the young mother, and from Kelly. He readily gave up a buccal swab of his DNA since he saw no harm in doing so. After all, the product of his illicit activity had been cremated. He was home free.

Not so fast.

To perform DNA paternity testing, DNA is required from the mother, the child, and the suspect father. Two out of three won’t work but if all three are available DNA testing is highly accurate for determining paternity.

In this case, the profiling revealed that the odds that someone other than Kelly fathered the aborted fetus was 1 in 38 million. Kelly was tried, convicted, and is now serving 15 years to life.

This is yet another example of someone thinking they had pulled off the near-perfect crime only to have forensic science lurking in the background to help bring them before the court. I love it when things work out this way.


Posted by on December 18, 2009 in DNA, Interesting Cases


3 responses to “Fetal DNA Nails Rapist

  1. KAT

    December 18, 2009 at 7:13 pm



  2. Pat Marinelli

    December 19, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Or, Kat, as my Mom would say, “Just desserts!”


  3. dianahockley

    January 28, 2015 at 7:36 pm




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