Tag Archives: Dorothy Wiederrich

Access to information is power and sometimes that power is abused.

11/12/19

Today the Sacramento Bee ran an interesting article on documented instances in which members of various California police departments, sheriffs’ departments and the California Highway Patrol have engaged in accessing various data bases for personal reasons.  The databases include Department of Motor Vehicle records and state and federal criminal records.  This data is supposed to be limited to access on a need to know or right to know basis.

Most of the penalties were relatively light and rarely more than a misdemeanor.  In some cases the officers in question were dismissed from one law enforcement agency and hired by another.

The information was used among other things to check on estranged spouses and exes and to run background checks on perspective tenants.

If local law enforcement falls prey to this temptation, one can only imagine how often those folks working with FBI, CIA and Homeland Security must abuse the level of information they have access to.

Here is the link to the Bee’s story https://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/article237091029.html.  If you are every involved in litigation involving a peace officer or someone with a connection to a peace officer and they come up with information that seems suspicious, I suggest making them prove that it was obtained by legal means.

 

 

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Is the window closing?

Just over a year ago, the world of investigations generally and criminal investigations more dramatically, was radically altered by the use of DNA testing combined with genealogical research to locate likely perpetrators of notorious crimes. The dam broke open with the arrest of Joseph DeAngelo, the alleged Golden State Killer.

Prior to this breakthrough, DNA samples from certain crimes were entered into the CODIS database. (Combined DNA Index System, maintained by FBI) One of the flaws of CODIS was that it’s data was limited to a relatively small portion of the population.

In the meantime, the growth of DNA testing for the purpose of genealogical searches was rapidly growing and producing a wealth of DNA data that was probably exclusiveof  CODIS contributors.  If a criminal avoided apprehension, his or her DNA might never go into the CODIS database with an identity attached to it.

What combining DNA testing with Genealogical research hopes to do  is take the DNA information found at a crime scene and compare it to the commercial data beyond realm of CODIS.  If close matches can be found, genealogy is used to find likely exact matches through relatives of the sample source.  Then law enforcement looks for and locates those likely matches and procures DNA samples for contemporary testing.  In the case of the Golden State Killer, law enforcement went into old evidence that had unidentified DNA in a quantity suitable for test, ran it through SNP tests, sent the data to the open source GEDMatch and eventually went into DeAngelo’s garbage to find what proved to be matching samples.

You need either a preliminary source for DNA testing, for example blood found on the victim at the scene or the wash/extract produced for the original testing.  The process of testing for DNA includes extracting  a purified sample in a water solution.  This is sometimes referred to as the “wash.”  Even if a previously untested source for testing doesn’t exist, the remaining wash may be usable for testing by newer methods.

Further hampering the possibility of an overlap between the CODIS data and commercial data is the fact that they use different testing methods.  What follows may be a gross oversimplification of the science, so I apologize to the likes of Blaine T. Bettinger for that error. Law Enforcement uses a STP method and the commercial world uses the SNP method.  To my knowledge, the test data for one cannot be converted to the other.  As a result, if the DNA sample that was in evidence was consumed in full and there is no remaining wash, you may be unable to take advantage of the the new options.

While this new approach has closed approximately 55 cases since 2018, including the recent case in which the first person convicted of committing a crime was freed using this technique the window for maximum use of this technique may be closing.  (The ISHI Report, What Does the Future Hold for Investigative Genealogy?, See the link below.)

The Golden State Killer case had a DNA sample or samples tested and created a false identity for the results. The results were then submitted to GEDMatch.  GEDMatch is an organization that is a sort of open platform for DNA results.  You can submit a swab for testing or you can submit your data from companies like 23andMe or Ancestry and  GEDMatch would lump everyone into one huge data base for doing genealogical research.  Suddenly everyone who joined GEDMatch had unknowingly given law enforcement their private data for evidence.

“On November 17, 2018, a 71 year-old woman was attacked while she was practicing the organ in a church meetinghouse. CeCe Moore, an investigative genealogist, was asked to assist with the case. Knowing that using the GEDMatch database to solve an assault case would violate their terms of service, she initially declined. With express permission from Curtis Rogers, founder of GEDMatch, investigators were allowed to use the database to identify the attacker.” (The ISHI Report, What Does the Future Hold for Investigative Genealogy?, See the link below.)

That same article goes on to explain why the window of opportunity on this type of investigation may have at least narrowed.  According to the ISHI article, the backlash to the the above referenced cases and others caused GEDMatch to require users to opt-in to having their DNA test results available for such investigations.  The result is that where GEDMatch once had 2,000,00 searchable profiles, it now has only 20,000.  That means the pool of searchable profiles has dried up significantly.

It will now be much more challenging to find matches that can help to solve cases.

The ISHI article I  cited was authored by Carol Bingham, Tara Luther and Promega and can be found at https://promega.foleon.com/theishireport/july-2019/what-does-the-future-hold-for-investigative-genealogy/.

 

 

 

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Weiderrich/Gregor Murder Case Update

Weiderrich/Gregor Murder Case Update
 
The next hearing in trial of Kenneth Vanderford and Kevin Etherton for the stabbing murders in Lodi, CA of Dorothy Weiderrich and Alan Karl Gregor is scheduled for 1/14/19 at 1:30 PM.
 
A source has informed me that Vanderford was working or otherwise active in the San Andreas, CA area during 2013. If anyone knows anything about what Vanderford, who also went by the name of Bobby Eugene Presley, was doing at that time, please feel to contact me.

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Arrests finally made in the murder of Dorothy Wiederrich.

74 year old Dorothy Wiederrich was bound and stabbed to death in her Lodi home on February 12, 2016.  Later that year Alan Gregor was also stabbed to death in his home located less than a mile from the Wiederrich residence.   Kenneth Vanderford, 52 and Kevin Etherton, 26, both from Stockton, were initially arrested for the Gregor murder after a police photo of a pickup truck, believed to be the murderers escape vehicle, was identified.

My investigation into the crimes found that one of Dorothy Wiederrich’s relatives identified the truck as one that Wiederrich purchased for the boyfriend/husband of her housekeeper.  That person was Kenneth Vanderford.  Vanderford and Etherton were arrested for the Gregor killing about a year ago and will be arraigned in the Wiederrich case February 13 on the two year anniversary of her death.

I investigated both murders, interviewing relatives and neighbors, in the hope that these apparently random stabbing murders in which the killers got into and out of the victims’ home without being seen or heard, might lead me to the real killer of Leila Fowler.

At this point it seems unlikely that either Vanderford or Etherton was involved in the Fowler case.  I say that because I hope that Vanderford and Etherton’s DNA was run through the CODIS data base and did not match the unidentified male DNA found on Leila Fowler’s body.

The following link is for an article on the arrests in the Wiederrich case that appeared in the Lodi Sentinel.

http://www.lodinews.com/news/article_684ef0da-0197-11e8-ba09-53a7f44ff5ff.html

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Arrest made in the Andrea St. John Murder

A series of murders that appear to be connected took place in Lodi and Castro Valley from February through December of 2016.  The three deaths were all by stabbing, neighbors did not see anyone enter or leave the victims’ homes nor did they hear anything to alert them that an attack was taking place.

As written about earlier, the first victim was Dorothy Wiederrich of Lodi on 2/13/16.  The second victim was Alan Karl Gregor, also of Lodi on 9/25/16 and the third victim was Andrea St. John of Castro Valley. St. John was killed on 12/13/16.  All were over 50 years of age.  All were stabbed to death.  All were the victims of a robbery.  In the case of the Gregor and St. John murders their homes were set on fire in an apparent attempts to destroy evidence.

In January of this year, authorities announced the arrest of Kenneth Vanderford, 51, and Kevin Etherton, 25, both from Stockton for the murder of Alan Gregor. (See the photos below.)  This weekend the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) announced the arrest of Luckie Dacanay, also of Stockton for the murder of Andrea St. John.  (See the photo below.) According to the ACSO, St. John was tortured and killed before her house was set on fire.  At the time of his arrest, the alleged killer was in already in San Joaquin County Jail for child molestation, although his name does not yet appear on the California Registered Sex Offenders web site.

Amazingly, neither of these cases has lead to an arrest in the Wiederrich case.  The cases may be unrelated, but sources inform us that there are some connections between Vanderford and Wiederrich.  According to news reports, Dacanay has confessed to the St.John killing.

If anyone saw any of these men in the area of 2315 Woodlake Circle, Lodi, CA on or about 2/13/17 or Valley Springs, CA on or about 4/27/13 please contact me or the San Joaquin County or Calaveras County Sheriffs’ offices.

Screen Shot 05-09-17 at 02.55 PM 001Kenneth Vanderford

(Courtesy Sacramento Bee)

Screen Shot 05-09-17 at 02.55 PM

Kevin Etherton

(Courtesy Sacramento Bee)

Screen Shot 05-09-17 at 02.58 PM

Luckie Dacanay

(Courtesy East Bay Times)

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Arrests made in one of the Lodi, CA stabbing murders, but nothing new in the earlier case.

On Friday,January 13, 2017, the Lodi Sentinel reported that Lodi Police arrested Kenneth Vanderford, 51, and Kevin Etherton, 25, on suspicion of murder, burglary and arson with great bodily harm in the stabbing death of Alan Karl Gregor Jr. on September 25, 2016.  This is the murder that was discovered when the Lodi Fire Department was called to extinguish a fire at Gregor’s home on Vine Street.

This means that the February 2016 stabbing of Dorothy Wiederrich remains unsolved.  A television story on KOVR in Sacramento, CA implied that there may have been unidentified DNA found at the Wiederrich crime scene.  Given that there was also unidentified male DNA found on the body of Leila Fowler I offered that DNA profile to the Lodi PD.  Sadly, I received a polite reply telling me there was no unidentified DNA found at the Wiederrich scene.

This makes me wonder if I asked the wrong question.  It is believed that the unidentified DNA found on Leila Fowler’s body is not in the national fingerprint and DNA database known as CODIS, because the source was not convicted of a qualifying felony.

Our concern is that the DNA found on Leila will not be compared to newer entries to CODIS unless a member of the Isiah Fowler defense team remains vigilant and keeps shaking the tree.  I did not ask the Lodi PD if they compared any DNA found at the Wiederrich crime scene to that found on Leila’s body, nor did they say whether or not they had done so of their own volition.

In the meantime, if anyone knows any members of Dorothy Wiederrich’s family, please have them contact me at info@johnkennedyinvestigations.com or (916) 487-1670.

 

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It can happen anywhere.

Throughout the Leila Fowler murder investigation and trial, the prosecution relied heavily on the fact that no one saw anyone go into or away from the Fowler house on the morning of Leila’s murder.  No one heard any screams either.  Therefore, Isiah Fowler (the only person known to have been in the house at the same time) must be guilty.  His story of an intruder killing his sister must be false.  No one could get into and out of the house without being seen.

WRONG

For example, on Saturday February 13, 2016 Lodi, CA police were called to a house in a tightly spaced development on the 2300 block of Woodlake Circle, after a relative found the body of 74 year Dorothy Wiederrich.  Ms. Wiederrich was stabbed to death.  Neighbors did not call the police because they didn’t see or hear anything.  Someone got in, brutally killed this woman and then escaped and no one saw or heard a thing.

It happened in Valley Springs, CA.  It just happened in Lodi, CA.

It can happen anywhere.

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