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Police collect DNA samples from neighbors in Taft investigation

Posted March 24, 2010

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— Police have collected DNA samples from neighbors near the Raleigh home where a state Board of Education member was attacked almost three weeks ago.

Officers went door-to-door asking for voluntary samples last week, neighbors said. Two residents who provided samples said investigators told them the DNA was collected in an effort to eliminate suspects.

Experts say “elimination samples” are collected to help investigators focus on other suspects. Raleigh Police have declined to comment on this part of their investigation into the death of 62-year-old Kathy Taft.

Taft died March 9 at WakeMed, three days after being brought to the hospital with severe head trauma.

Kathy Taft Police collect DNA in Taft case

Several sources told WRAL News that Taft's sister called 911 the morning of March 6 from a home at 2710 Cartier Drive, indicating that she thought Taft was experiencing complications from a minor surgical procedure she had a day earlier.

Police were called after a surgeon examined Taft and realized she had been assaulted, sources said. Surgical bandages on her face likely concealed the wounds, the sources said.

Raleigh Police Chief Harry Dolan said the assault occurred "some hours before" investigators were called, but the time of the crime hadn't been narrowed down from late March 5 to early March 6.

Police haven't determined if the assault was a random act of violence.

Taft was staying at the home of John Geil while recovering from the procedure, according to friends. Geil was in Florida when the attack occurred and has since returned. The pair had dated in the past and were still friends, according to relatives.

Police on Wednesday took down crime scene tape from in front Geil’s home. Authorities also attended a neighborhood watch meeting that night.

Police last week distributed 1,000 fliers to drivers at Oberlin Road and Cartier Drive to generate leads in the case.

Taft's family has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Anyone with information that might help police is asked to call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-HELP.

65 Comments

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  • limeyrider Mar 26, 2010

    @ anitov READ THIS, then read my previous post Mar 25 4:59PM.
    *NB* NOT my own words, but a fine law none the less.
    * Fourth Amendment – Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    REFUSE? and the RPD WILL get a 'sample' from your door knob, mail box, garbage can handle, etc. etc. etc. WITHOUT A WARRANT - I SAW THIS HAPPEN, PEOPLE!

  • thepeopleschamp Mar 25, 2010

    "To be asked to provide DNA is a violation of my rights" journey

    Exactly which right is being violated? Being asked to do something which you may refuse is far from a rights violation.

  • Xiaoding Mar 25, 2010

    NEVER give the police your DNA. NEVER.

    Once in the database, it's there forever.

    Make them get a court order.

    Absoloutly, though, one of the neighbors did it. It's a creepy area, full of thieves.

  • limeyrider Mar 25, 2010

    "Elimination samples" = RPD does not have a CLUE who they are looking for. ATTN MEN: IF you refuse, RPD can and WILL get your DNA from garbage cans, mail box or door knob, etc. DO NOT clean your items with bleach, alone. Use 30% hydrogen peroxide (from hair salons or hair bleach kits), wash items with straight peroxide, let it air dry, FOLLOWED by one part laundry bleach to four parts water. Anyone feeling compelled to ask me "How do you know?" Please ask no questions, I'll tell no lies - do your own research to confirm or refute these cleaning instructions.

  • Diabolical Mar 25, 2010

    LOL at White Devil.

  • passport423 Mar 25, 2010

    Several years ago, the RPD did collect DNA from many young men while investigating the rape and murder of Stephanie Bennett. (I know this because a friend of mine was asked for his DNA because he used to work with her.) I believe the thought was, if someone says "No", automatically add them to the suspect list. Of course, the fellow they eventually arrested for the crime had said "No". They ended up getting his DNA from his workplace instead. He later committed suicide but there was speculation that he had murdered a couple of other women in another state. In addition, the cops found paperwork which indicated he was stalking/tracking another woman in Raleigh at the time of his arrest.

  • mrsmom Mar 25, 2010

    re: superman "they are certainly doing more than "usual" ...We had a breakin at our house..."

    I would think "usual" for a murder investigation and "usual" for a breakin would be different. I have been a victim of a breakin as well and it is frustratating that the police did not do what I see on CSI, but I think severe injuries and/or death trump the loss of property.

  • superman Mar 25, 2010

    I recall that the police were quoted as saying they were making progress. I havent seen any or heard of any progress yet. Most crimes are solved within 2 or 3 days if it takes longer than that, chances are it wont be solved at all. DNA and road stops-- they are certainly doing more than "usual" in this case. We had a breakin at our house and they didnt even take fingerprints. Just came out-- talked a few minutes-- took a few notes and went to Krispy-Creame I guess.

  • mountainlover Mar 25, 2010

    Why is it a bad thing to ASK for a sample? One can always refuse to give one or politely say, "Do you have a warrant?"

  • gandalla Mar 25, 2010

    This is horrible where do the police get off thinking they can just ask anybody to give a DNA sample. Trying to rule people out is BS they are scrapping to get an idea any idea on who did this since they are clueless. I guess the checkpoint wasnt as helpful as they had hoped.

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