DNA Match in Vaatstra Case

There has been a breakthrough in the mass DNA screening carried out by the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) in the Marianne Vaatstra murder case. On Sunday 18 November 2012, a man was arrested whose DNA matched the DNA sample that was found on the crime scene at the time.

DNA Match

More than 6,500 men residing in the vicinity of the crime scene were willing to contribute their DNA for the procedure which is called ‘familial DNA searching’. Shortly after a bit more than half of the anonymous samples had been screened by the NFI, a match was found. The second DNA analysis of buccal cells from the suspect, which is carried out as a check, confirmed the match. This ended the mass DNA screening that was being performed by the NFI. The follow-up investigation by the Public Prosecution Service and the police is well under way. 

Destruction of DNA material

The NFI destroys all DNA material on the orders of the Public Prosecution Service; all the material used for the screening, such as the samples and the profiles produced from these samples, will be destroyed. Only the material of the suspect will be kept. 

About the ‘familial DNA searching’ procedure

For the screening procedure used in this case (known as ‘familial DNA searching’), the NFI used the male Y chromosome for the profiling process, as this chromosome is passed on - nearly unchanged – in the male line of a family. A number of the profiles analysed showed family ties on the basis of this procedure. Next, an autosomal DNA analysis was performed. These autosomal profiles were again compared to the DNA profile found on the crime scene, which resulted in the match.