Jun 7, 2021

Genealogy Sites Lack Diverse DNA, Struggle to ID People of Color

When Michigan State Police began submitting DNA from unidentified remains for genealogy testing, the agency was elated by how quickly the process achieved results.

“We knew she was a white female, but we didn’t know who she was,” Lt. Scott Ernstes with Michigan State Police said about the remains found on October 12, 1988, in Van Buren County’s Covert Township.

“Within six weeks, we had her identified. She was from Oklahoma. And with the other 2010 case out of Wayland, same thing. White male, (and) we had it identified very quickly,” Ernstes said.

But that wasn’t the case when it came to three other sets of unidentified remains found over three decades in Covert Township.

“It was quite shocking that (the genealogy testing) was taking so long,” recalled Ernstes.

“That’s where conversations with DNA Doe (Project) came in. They said, ‘this is why. The populations you’re looking for are underrepresented in the system,’” he said.

You can read the full article by Susan Samples in the WOODTV.COM web site at: