'In Cold Blood' DNA tests prove inconclusive

August 13, 2013 

— The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office has received the results from the most recent DNA testing and comparison conducted in the 1959 Walker family murder case that resembled the one that inspired Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" book and movie.

DNA samples were extracted in December 2012 from the exhumed bodies of Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, the two men suspected in the case and convicted of murdering a Kansas family in similar fashion just a month before the Florida crime.

Testing and comparison conducted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the private Paternity Testing Corp. resulted in partial DNA profiles that could not be matched to the previously developed suspect DNA profile from Christine Walker's underwear.

Some uncertainty remains, however, as the DNA from the crime scene and the graves of Hickock and Smith include degraded samples. Multiple partial profiles were developed and there was potential contamination from handling and years of storage.

The DNA testing was conducted in an attempt to obtain scientific certainty to indicate whether or not Smith and Hickock were responsible for the murders, but that didn't happen.

Based on the totality of the evidence, investigators still regard Smith and Hickock as the most viable suspects in the Walker murders, however, DNA testing seems unlikely to provide conclusive evidence one way or the other, according to a release from the SCSO.

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