Kentucky State Police uses DNA technology to solve missing person case
Rapid DNA positively identifies Leslie County woman
HELTON, Ky. (WTVQ/PRESS RELEASE) – The Kentucky State Police (KSP) is utilizing the ANDE Rapid DNA Identification System, a technology that generates DNA identification from forensic samples in less than two hours, to help solve open cases in the state. Recently, KSP positively identified a woman who went missing in 2020.
On October 24, 2020, Makayla Collett went missing from Leslie County. In 2021, unidentified remains, including a skull, were found, and taken to the Rapid DNA section of the KSP Forensic Lab. The results led to a partial female DNA profile. KSP Forensic Scientist Regina Wells took further action to research the national missing person database and connected it to Collett.
“I found the missing person entry to Ms. Collett and noticed that she was missing from the adjacent county where the skull was found,” said Regina Wells. “Makayla had physical characteristics consistent with characteristics noted on the skull during the evaluation at the medical examiner’s office.”
The family of Collett provided DNA samples to the laboratory, which led to the positive identification.
In 2019, Kentucky became the first state to utilize rapid DNA testing for sexual assault investigations. The ANDE Rapid DNA system is also being used to help solve cold cases. Rapid DNA is a scientifically proven technology that generates a DNA ID (also referred to as a DNA fingerprint). The DNA ID is based on the size of approximately 20 fragments of “junk DNA” and does not reveal information about the individual’s appearance or medical or behavioral conditions. ANDE is the first Rapid DNA system to be granted FBI approval, received for the automated testing and interpretation of cheek swabs.
If you have information about a criminal case, please contact your local KSP Post or dial the tip line at 1-800-222-5555.