DNA extracted from cigarette butt connects mother to murder of newborn twins

DNA extracted from cigarette butt connects mother to murder of newborn twins

Almost two decades after the murder of infant twin boys – whose bodies were found in trash cans in an Illinois alleyway – the killer, discovered to be the boys’ mother, has been tracked down using DNA evidence found at the scene.

Antoinette Briley, 41, of Holland, Michigan has been arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder, after the investigation into the 2003 cold case was reopened by police, some 15 years later.

Briley, who is now being held on $15,000 bond and is due to reappear in court in the coming weeks, would have been 24 years old when she allegedly placed the boys in the garbage bin after giving birth in the bathtub of her grandparents’ home.

Assistant State Attorney Dominique Marshall told the court that Briley had ‘panicked’ and placed the babies in a duffel bag, with the intention of driving them to hospital, before deciding to dump them instead.

The bodies were found by a waste management employee who discovered their remains whilst emptying garbage cans at the time.

An autopsy report from the time of the deaths said the infants had been born alive but had died soon after of asphyxiation.

Since 2003, the case had remained closed until authorities decided to reopen it and use DNA found at the scene to track down the babies’ birth mother.

Using genetic genealogy research to identify Briley as the potential mother, investigators traveled to Holland where they had located her following a tip off and collected her DNA from a discarded cigarette butt.

Comparing DNA evidence from the murder scene and the sample from the cigarette butt, officers found a match and subsequently arrested Briley.

The Assistant State Attorney said Briley ‘wished she could take the whole day back’ adding that she wished she had ‘kept going to the hospital.’

Defending Briley, public defender, Courtney Smallwood revealed her client is now the mother of a 12-year-old girl, and has been an ‘active member of society’ who does not pose threat or a flight risk.

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Image Source: Cook County Sheriff’s Office