Advances in DNA technology help crack cold cases in Middle Tennessee

Special Reports

DNA holds the key to solving some cold cases. It recently helped lead to an arrest in cold case out of Clarksville. 

23-year-old Crista Bramlitt was found murdered inside her Clarksville home on October 28, 1996. She had been sexually assaulted and suffocated.

Investigators collected DNA at the time but there wasn’t enough for a suspect profile. 

The DNA was re-tested in 2005, and due to advancements in the technology a suspect profile was developed.

The profile was entered into CODIS, the FBI’s DNA database. It sat there for 14 years.

Then, in February 2019, 48-year-old Kenneth Hudspeth’s DNA was entered into CODIS and it was a match for the Bramlitt case.

“I was excited. I immediately called the detectives and let them know that we now have an individual that may be connected to this case,” said Dr. Mike Turbeville. He is the supervisor for the TBI forensic biology lab. 

He is the scientist who originally tested the DNA found on Crista and who re-tested it in 2005.

“If we had not had this DNA hit, he would still be walking around,” said Clarksville Detective Mike Ulrey. “This individual never came up one time in our investigation or in the initial investigation.”

According to police, Hudspeth lived in Crista’s same mobile home park but moved out almost immediately after her murder.

For Crista’s aunt, she knew this day would come.

“There was never any doubt in my mind that they would find who done it. It was just a matter of time,” said Jamie Doll in a press conference held by Clarksville Police. “Not a day goes by where I don’t think of Crista.”

DNA degrades over time but the technology is getting better. 

“It’s going to be very hard to get away with committing crimes,” said Turbeville. “Harder than it already is.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

Trending Stories