A distinguished panel of forensic DNA scientists, police, prosecutors, and victim advocates will collaborate with Gordon Thomas Honeywell Governmental Affairs (GTH-GA) to determine which case will be recognized as the DNAHit of the Year. The 2nd annual DNA Hit of the Year Program, which recognizes the power of forensic DNA databases to solve a serious crime, is now accepting case submissions.  

Each year throughout the world, tens of thousands of criminal suspects in sexual assaults, homicide and other serious crimes are identified through criminal offender DNA databases.  The DNAHit of the Year serves to bring awareness to the world's greatest crime-fighting tool.   Furthermore, the DNAHit of the Year recognizes the efforts of crime lab personnel and police who use these databases to achieve justice, bring closure to crime victims, as well as exonerate the innocent.     

The 2017 DNA Hit of the Year was the case of Yara Gambirasio (of Brembate di Sopra, Italy) who was murdered on November 26, 2010. To identify the suspect whose full DNA profile was found at the crime scene, Italian authorities developed the world's largest known DNA mass screening database. Using this tool, investigators and analysts conducted a complex and exhaustive familial DNA search that ultimately led to an arrest on June 14, 2015.

DNA has revolutionized law enforcement investigative techniques. DNA databases continue to produce investigative leads for both new and decades-old crimes.  DNA Hit of the Year celebrates the use of these databases to solve the crime.  However, the program also brings much-deserved attention to the tireless work of crime lab personnel and investigators who work these DNA cases using scientific ingenuity and investigative skills.

The case must be a cold hit case, one in which the criminal suspect was identified due to a match in the database where DNA from an unsolved crime scene was matched to a previously unidentified suspect in the database. The cold hit must be a serious criminal case that received community-wide attention or had a significant public safety impact. 

Jayann Sepich, Co-founder of DNA Saves, says, "Programs such as the DNAHit of the Year bring much-needed attention to Forensic DNA, the most significant criminal justice tool of the 21st century. The use of offender DNA databases makes it possible to identify suspects in unsolved crimes and to correct injustices where citizens have been wrongly accused."