DNA Trails: Searching for answers in Boston, 9/11 wreckage

Posted at 9:18 PM, Apr 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-30 21:22:18-04

(PIX11) – DNA found on a bomb fragment from the Boston Marathon bombings has become the new focus in the investigation.

Dr. Lawrence Kobilinksy, the head of the science department at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, believes that the female DNA found on that fragment of the pressure cooker bomb used to kill three and maim and injure 264, was probably not a victim, but more likely created by someone who either came into contact with the bomb: an accomplice, or someone who sold a part of the bomb-making material or someone who had indirect contact.

That means that the bombmaker could have shaken hands, for example, with a woman, and her skin cells could be transferred to the bomb.

Yesterday the FBI took DNA samples from Katherine Russell, the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the brother who was killed in a shootout with police.  They also took DNA from their three year old daughter.

In another high-profile case, DNA from the piece of plane believed to be part of the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center is now being analyzed. Dr. Kobilinksy says DNA can survive for a very long time, and under great duress.

If bone fragments are found, investigators will grind them up, and try to match the DNA to a database.