DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Investigators with the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office made an arrest this week in a decades-old cold case murder using DNA evidence.
Dorchester County Sheriff LC Knight announced Tuesday that a DNA match led to the arrest of Charles Edward Goodwin Jr. for the death of 40-year-old Stephanie Thompson back in 1998.
News 2 spoke with Chief Deputy Samuel Richardson about how important DNA is in helping investigators find those responsible for crimes – even those committed years ago.
“In a span of 30 years, DNA has changed a lot. It’s helped us clear people, it’s helped us convict suspects, exonerate some people in certain cases,” said Chief Deputy Richardson.
DNA technology is improving a lot, and it was critical in finding Goodwin.
“We’ve got people who extract DNA samples and the key part of that is the preservation, extraction, preservation.”
Chief Richardson says the preservation can make all the difference. In the case of Goodwin, DNA of Goodwin was found at the scene of Thompson’s murder in 1998. Goodwin was arrested for his 4th Felony DUI last year.
Per statute, his DNA was taken and placed in the database. 2-3 months later, on December 10th of last year, the DNA match happened.
“I think the actual process is more precise now. And you’re now able to do more with less.”
Technology has improved to the point where they can even use DNA to create a digital photo of what that suspect might look like.
The DNA at the scene of Thompson’s murder was used to create a digital image.
Dorchester County has about nine cold case murders. They are working from about 2002 on.
Good collection and preservation of the DNA evidence helped solve Thompson’s case. “Because without that collection process and preservation process, we wouldn’t have achieved the goal that we were able to achieve with this. So, I’m just glad we were able to do that for the family in this case.”