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Teen's DNA evidence in Tessa Majors murder inconclusive: sources

Posted: 2:54 PM, Feb 03, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-03 17:51:56-05
Murdered Barnard College student Tessa Majors

MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS, Manhattan — DNA evidence collected from a 14-year-old boy who was detained in the Tessa Majors homicide investigation has come back inconclusive, sources said Monday.

The teen was taken into custody on Dec. 26 for questioning in the stabbing death of the 18-year-old Barnard College student as she walked through Manhattan’s Morningside Park on Dec. 11, according to police. He was released the same day.

“The investigation remains active and ongoing," NYPD officials said Monday when asked about the DNA evidence.

The DNA evidence was allegedly from the teen suspected of stabbing Majors, sources said. But it came back as a 1 million ratio, which means more than 7,000 people in the world’s 7.7 billion population could appear to be a match to the sample collected.

Several factors could have caused the DNA findings, according to Dr. Rob Gonzalez, a criminal justice professor at St. John’s University and a retired NYPD assistant commissioner of training.

“It’s almost like putting a puzzle together and DNA is one piece of the puzzle,” he said. “Often times you have cross contamination between one suspect and another or the victim and the perpetrators, which makes it inconclusive.”

The threshold needed to prove that no one else has the same DNA profile is a 5 billion ratio, but Gonzalez said he doesn’t believe the case is over.

“They still have interviews, witnesses. I don’t see prosecutors dismissing this case based on DNA evidence,” he said.

A 13-year-old boy is facing a felony murder charge in Majors’ death, though he is not accused of stabbing her.

The 13-year-old told police one of his friends grabbed Majors from behind and another friend stabbed her before taking items from her pockets, officials said. He is accused of picking up the knife after his friend dropped it.

Another 14-year-old boy was questioned several days after Majors’ death, but he was later released without charges, police said.