Worldwide Cold Case Experts

Our expertise in forensic genetic genealogy is complemented by its experience with both Microarray and Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) pipelines for processing even the most challenging DNA samples. What truly makes Identifinders different is our versatility and personal attention to the cases that we investigate. Not just a vendor, we are investigative partners – collaborating with our law enforcement clients until the case is solved.

Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick

Founder & President

Colleen Fitzpatrick, PhD is an internationally recognized forensic genealogist and pioneer in the development of forensic genetic genealogy for solving violent crime and unknown person cold cases.

Dr. Fitzpatrick has collaborated with the top organizations in the field, including the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science, Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, the US Army Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Office, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, the University of Arizona, Harvard Medical School and law enforcement agencies nationwide. Dr. Fitzpatrick has also been a key member of teams that have exposed two international Holocaust literary frauds.

As a Co-Founder and former Co-Executive Director of the DNA Doe Project (2017-2020) she led the team that solved the first two cold cases using genetic genealogy autosomal SNP testing. The Joseph Newton Chandler III and Buckskin Girl cases were solved several weeks before the Golden State Killer was identified using similar methods bringing widespread media attention to the field.

• First to use forensic genetic genealogy to generate investigative leads on a cold case
• First to use forensic genetic genealogy to solve a cold case, 2015 Phoenix Canal Murders (1992-1993)
• Expert in the application of forensic genetic genealogy techniques to compromised DNA samples
• Developer of proprietary software to mine and analyze Y-STR genetic genealogy databases
• Experience with several hundred cold cases using forensic genetic genealogy

Dr. Fitzpatrick received her PhD in Nuclear Physics from Duke University. She worked for 25 years on the development of high resolution laser measurement techniques for NASA, the Department of Defense, and other government agencies. A multilingual world traveler, Dr. Fitzpatrick specializes in international cases and has researched in over 50 countries. She also lectures and teaches widely in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Colleen has appeared in hundreds of domestic and international newspapers and magazines, and on international radio and television programs. These include the New York Times, BBC World News Tonight, RTE Ireland Television’s Nationwide, The Melbourne Sun, Radio New Zealand, Japan’s Nippon TV, CNN, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, More Magazine, Scientific American, The Wall Street Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, The Boston Globe, The Denver Post, The Seattle Times, and The Orange County Register.

Memberships and Appointments

Member, American Academy of Forensic Science (AAFS)
Director of Forensic Genetic Genealogy, Intermountain Forensics
Member, Vidocq Society
Past Fellow, Society of Photoinstrumentation Engineers (SPIE)

Awards Highlights

•  5th place, GHT Cold Case Hit of the Year (2020)
•  Citizen of the Year, US Marshal of Northern Ohio (2019)
•  5th place, GHT Cold Case Hit of the Year (2018)
•  Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory Service Medal (2007)

Publication Highlights

The Emerging Discipline of Forensic Genealogy, Forensic Genetic Approaches for the Identification of Human Skeletal Remains, ed. Angela Ambers. PhD, Elsevier Press, 2021.

Solving Crimes using Relatives’ DNA, Chapter co-author with Angela Ambers, PhD in Familial Searching and Genetic Genealogy, Forensic Reconstruction: Theory to Practice, ed. Henry C Lee and Elaine C. Pagiaro. Oxford University Press, 2021.

Forensic Genealogy (Revised Edition), Rice Book Press, 2013.

The DNA Detective, Rice Book Press, 2013.

Integrated DNA and Fingerprint Analyses in the Identification of 60-Year-Old Mummified Human Remains Discovered in an Alaskan Glacier. Odile M. Loreille, Ryan L. Parr, Kevin A. McGregor, Colleen M. Fitzpatrick, Chriss Lyon, Donya Y. Yang, Camilla F. Speller, Michael R. Grimm, Michael J. Grimm, Jodi A. Irwin, Edward M. Robinson. Journal of Forensic Sciences, April 2010.

I would put Colleen and Misty up against any genealogy experts in the nation. The victims become their family and it’s obvious through the passion they pour into each investigation. They solve the unsolvable and identify the unidentifiable.

CHRIS CASH, Company A Huntsville, Texas Rangers

These murders brought the city to its knees. By the time we heard about Colleen, we had exhausted all investigative leads. And what she did…it was miraculous. Without Colleen getting involved…this case would never have been solved.

DOMINIC ROESTENBURG, Detective, Phoenix Police Department
I’m so thankful the King County Police Department never gave up and that they were willing to use the tips and science Dr. Fitzpatrick’s team were able to unearth in making an arrest.
LAURA YARBOROUGH, Victim's Mother

Dr. Fitzpatrick’s tireless efforts made this possible. [She] is a true professional and relentless when it comes to finding answers. If an answer exists, she’ll find it! Working with her was a true pleasure. We couldn’t have done it without her.

KEVIN A. McGREGOR, MAJOR (Ret) USAFR, Flight 4422 Project
The case had a profound impact on my life, so much so, that I postponed my retirement…I will always be grateful to Colleen for having the vision and drive to see this case through to a successful conclusion.
DETECTIVE JIM ALLEN (Ret), Major Crimes Unit, King County Sheriff

With the assistance of Identifinders, we successfully solved two cases by harnessing genetic genealogy. As an investigator, I hope to continue the use of this technology which is instrumental in bringing closure to these cases.

DETECTIVE ASHLEY NOLAN, Chandler Arizona Police Department

David Paul – God’s beloved little man. We made a promise that we would never forget 32 years of proof. The fact now that we know so much about the mom and so much about what happened thanks to Colleen, at least we can rest.

ROBERT KOSIENSKI, Chief (Ret), Meriden, Connecticut Police Department

This arrest shows the incredible power of DNA technology and the cleverness of the genetic genealogists at Identifinders. I’m so happy the Porchlight Project could assist in bringing Barbie’s killer to light.

JAMES RENNER, The Porchlight Project

Team

Colleen Fitzpatrick
Colleen FitzpatrickFounder
Misty Gillis
Misty GillisCold Case Liaison
Gretchen Stack
Gretchen StackSenior Forensic Genealogist
Allison Peacock
Allison PeacockSenior Forensic Genealogist
Olivia Reidenbach
Olivia ReidenbachForensic Genealogist
Linda Doyle
Linda DoyleForensic Genealogist
Lori Jonasson
Lori JonassonForensic Genealogist
Lisa Lewis
Lisa LewisForensic Genealogist