The first Australian conviction resulting from a familial search

Damien Abarno, Thomas Sobieraj, Chay Summers, Duncan Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Familial Searching has been used in numerous jurisdictions globally since the turn of the century and has provided successful investigative leads and prosecutions. We present a familial search performed at Forensic Science SA in conjunction with the South Australian Police that resulted in an intelligence lead, arrest and conviction of an individual, which we believe is the first such conviction in Australia. A DNA profile of male origin was obtained from exhibits collected from two different sexual assaults which did not match any individuals on the National DNA database. A familial search was conducted resulting in a candidate list of potential relatives. After further exclusionary DNA work using Y-STRs, a single individual gave strong support as a possible child or parent of the unknown male who left the crime stain. After further police investigation of this male, he was subsequently arrested and ultimately pleaded guilty to the two assaults. We briefly discuss the police and scientific work involved in this case and also some of the more general issues and processes around familial searching in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S56-S59
JournalAustralian Journal of Forensic Sciences
Issue numbersup1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2019


  • Australia
  • conviction
  • Familial search


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