What advancements in DNA matching technology could mean for solving cold cases in Kern County

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Justice may seem hopeless in many unsolved murders, but advancements in DNA testing broke some of the coldest cases in the Valley in 2019.

One particular case raising the question: Could unsolved Kern cases be next?

23 years ago, Debbie Dorian was brutally murdered in her apartment in Fresno.

It seemed the case would never be solved, until last Wednesday, when The Fresno Police Department announced they have connected 52-year-old Nickey Duane Stane to the cold case. 

Duane was named the primary suspect in Dorian’s murder after a breakthrough in DNA matching technology. 

A breakthrough, not unlike those we’ve seen in Kern County in recent years. 

The 1978 killing of Dawn Koons was one of the coldest cases ever solved in Bakersfield. 

The 1978 Bakersfield killing and the Fresno State murder have one thing in common: A revolutionized approach to DNA matching technology and tenacious Cold Case Units. 

The Bakersfield Police Department Cold Case Unit is made up of BPD homicide detectives and a forensics team. 

BPD’s Cold Case Unit was created in January 2017. 

Its purpose is to bring justice to the numerous victims who share stories similar to Koons’ and Dorian’s. 

Improvements to DNA matching technology and a unit focused on solving cold cases could mean hope for the loved ones of Kern victims who were taken from them too soon. 

In another cold case, Bakersfield Police are asking the public’s help in finding a person connected to a 1976 homicide. 

Mark Revanaugh was fatally shot at the 7-Eleven at 2331 Chester Lane. 

Police said they believe a woman by the name of Barbara Morris, who is believed to be in her 60’s today, may have information about the murder. 

The BPD Cold Case Unit said they hope to speak to her about the case. 

Anyone with information is urged to call BPD at (661) 327-7111. 

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