Attorney General Lockyer, Del Norte Sheriff Maready Announce That State DNA Databank Links Suspect to 1994 Homicide
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Del Norte Sheriff Jim Maready today announced that a "cold hit" made by the California Department of Justice (DOJ) DNA Laboratory in Berkeley has linked a suspect to the 1994 murder of a young female hitchhiker.
Robert Wigley, 35, was arrested by the Del Norte Sheriff's deputies on November 30 and charged with the 1994 murder. The 18-year-old victim's body was found fully clothed and wrapped in a blanket in Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park on October 30 ,1994. Wigley was linked to the murder when evidence from the crime scene was analyzed by the Attorney General's Bureau of Forensic Services Eureka Laboratory and yielded a DNA profile which matched Wigley's DNA profile stored in the DOJ Convicted Felon databank.
"Through the joint efforts of the Del Norte County Sheriff's Department and the Department of Justice's criminalists, another dangerous criminal was taken off the streets," Lockyer said. "Our DNA databank continues to be an important resource for solving crimes. Criminals must know that regardless of when they committed the crime, we will bring them to justice."
Since 1986, California law has required blood and saliva samples to be taken from individuals convicted of any of nine specified felony sex and violent crimes. The samples yield DNA profiles, which are stored in the Department of Justice Convicted Felon data bank. DNA profiles extracted from crime scene evidence are compared to the profiles in the data bank, and a match in an unsolved case is considered a "cold hit." The local law enforcement agency and/or the local crime lab is notified about the identification and can then proceed appropriately with the information. More than 200,000 DNA profiles from convicted felons have been developed.
In October, Lockyer announced the enactment of DNA legislation he sponsored, Assembly Bill 673 (Migden). AB 673 adds four categories to the current list of nine violent felonies that qualify for mandatory inclusion in the state Department of Justice DNA data bank. Persons convicted of first degree robbery, residential burglary, arson and car-jacking, as well as attempts to commit these offenses, will be required to provide a DNA sample for inclusion in the DOJ Convicted Felon databank.
A total of 69 suspects have been identified by the Department of Justice DNA Convicted Felon data bank since it was established in 1994, and 48 of these "cold hits" have been made since January 1, 2001.
Please contact George Mina, Operations Commander, for any questions regarding the Del Norte Sheriff's Department's investigation: (707) 464-4191.