DNA Dilemma

A brutal and mysterious murder opens a Pandora's box of DNA privacy.

Tufts University Professor Sheldon Krimsky, who's writing a book about DNA databanks, adds that many non-police databases include DNA information. Too much sharing of this kind of information could someday allow government or industry to track even innocent people. "Police have a right to talk to people," he says. "The question is whether they have a right to do genetic surveillance on these databases. There's still a lot to be decided by the higher courts."

While these kinds of grand questions are considered in Washington, Tallahassee, and Lansing, Det. Cumbie keeps banging at his investigation. He recently persuaded the office of Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum to contact his counterpart in Michigan. "Maybe they're protecting this guy because he's a snitch," Cumbie says. "We even told them we'd pay for the follow-up test, but they won't give us the information."

Nor has Beverly Sicherer given up. She still has nightmares about her dad's murder. At his funeral, she put clippings of fur from her dogs into Al's hand before burial. His spirit lives in the band of barking canines that fill her house with noise and life, she says.

Pat Kinsella


Click here for a Spanish language version of this article.

But she demands an answer. "How is it infringing upon a person's right to privacy to ask if they want to give information?" she says. "Especially not when it was such a violent crime."

Gabriela Stanelis, Idalis Camacho, Yaritza Cordero, and Ada Alvarez contributed to this report.

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