Claudia investigation blow – DNA tests fail to identify suspect

THE final lead being pursued by detectives investigating the suspected murder of Claudia Lawrence has come to nothing.

The one outstanding line of inquiry – which police hoped might shed light on what happened to the missing York chef – related to multiple DNA samples recovered during the investigation, including a partial profile found on a cigarette in a car.

North Yorkshire Police revealed yesterday that the familial DNA forensic investigation work had included travelling the UK to try to obtain DNA from people, but had eventually concluded without a suspect being identified.

Claudia Lawrence was last seen on March 18th 2009 and was reported missing the next day after she failed to turn up for work as a chef in York.

In January last year, as the North Yorkshire force scaled down a £1 million review of the case, it said that DNA profiling was the only outstanding line of inquiry and it estimated it would take a further six weeks to finalise the matter.

They have now confirmed that 'familial DNA forensic investigation work' has now been completed without identifying a possible suspect or suspects – and that the results were 'naturally very frustrating' for the team involved.

Claudia's family have been informed and an appeal has been re-issued for anyone still to come forward who had visited Claudias house or been in her car for any reason, should still do so in the confidence that they can be eliminated against the outstanding DNA profiles.

The review, which involved a small team trying to identify people they require elimination DNA from, has taken longer than first anticipated due to the amount of research and analytical work .

It has involved travelling around the UK to try and obtain DNA by consent from people who have similar DNA profiles to the unidentified samples recovered during the investigation.

There has also been work done to reconstruct Claudias DNA from various sources for elimination purposes.

Detective Superintendent Dai Malyn, the senior investigating officer in the case. said the investigation will always remain open.

While these enquiries have been worthwhile and necessary to the investigation, they concluded without identifying a possible suspect or suspects from the DNA analysis.

However, it demonstrates that we will continue to use forensic and other investigative work to progress this review. This is naturally very frustrating for the investigation team and our thoughts are very much with Claudias family who remain desperate for a breakthrough. The family have been updated about the completion of this work.

As I have said before, the investigation will always remain open and we still receive information on a weekly basis that requires assessment and follow-up. People who have still yet to come forward who have visited Claudias house or been in her car for any reason, should still do so in the confidence that we can eliminate them against the outstanding DNA profiles.

Anyone with information that could assist the investigation should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101 – or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 and quote Claudia Lawrence, North Yorkshire Police.

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