Advances in DNA tech helping Jennifer Lin cold case detectives in Alameda County

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CASTRO VALLEY, Calif. (KRON) — Exactly 26 years ago, 14-year-old Jennifer Lin was brutally murdered in her Castro Valley home after returning home from school. No arrests have been made, but Alameda County Sheriff’s detectives are still working to crack the case.

Lin’s family held a livestreamed memorial event Wednesday night to remember the young talented musician and hold out hope that her killer will be found.

Sheriff Gregory Ahern spoke with KRON4 to give an update on the case and urge anyone in the Castro Valley community to come forward with new information. The Sheriff’s Office created a website dedicated to the Lin investigation and tips.

Some of Alameda County’s veteran crime fighters have been working on the investigation since 1994. New advances in DNA technology could provide the breakthrough they need.

Ahern said his investigators think that the killer touched objects at the crime scene and might have left behind traces of DNA that could not be previously detected.

The Sheriff’s Office wrote, “From day one, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office has been unwavering in our efforts to solve this horrific crime. We remain committed to bringing justice to Jennifer, her family, and our community. Throughout the years we have partnered with the FBI to ensure all available resources were dedicated to this case. Most recently, we collaborated with the FBI Laboratory to ensure the latest technology is utilized in this case. Our office purchased the M-Vac System known for its advancements in DNA collection. Our department has already experienced success with this device and will be using it to further this investigation.”

A second breakthrough in DNA forensic technology allows investigators to separate two people’s DNA, such as DNA from the victim and the perpetrator, from the same pool of blood.

Lin’s parents, John and Mei-lian Lin, vowed to continue working with the police until the case is solved, to carry on her dreams, and to see her life extended through the Jenny Lin Foundation.

Her family wrote, “Throughout her life, Jenny maintained the most vibrant, vivacious and easy-going personality. Her big eyes and big smile always welcomed a good time.  Even at her young age, she knew the secret to a happy and fulfilling life and helped others around her to discover the same.”

Jennifer Lin
Jennifer Lin
Jennifer Lin

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