In a first for Orange County sheriff, genetic genealogy leads to murder arrest
The Orange County sheriff’s cold case homicide unit used genetic genealogy to find a suspect in the 1996 stabbing death of Lil’ Champ store manager Terrence Paquette.
It’s the first time the Sheriff’s Office has used these public databases to help make a murder arrest.
Twenty-five years ago, investigators found drops and smudges of blood from an unidentified person throughout the Lil’ Champ store.
Now, the DNA in that blood has been key to homing in on three brothers, including the suspect, 54-year-old Kenneth Robert Stough Jr. of Eustis.
Debbie Abney, who runs the genetic genealogy group for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, says investigators used FamilyTree and GEDMatch.com, where law enforcement can access your data if allow that or don’t opt out.
“There were matches on the mother’s side and matches on the father’s side,” she said. “And that’s why the three brothers were the lead.”
Stough had lived near Paquette and previously worked at the store. Investigators used DNA from beer cans he threw away and got a match.
He denied involvement but was arrested this week on first-degree murder.
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