KIMT News 3 – Iowa DCI investigators discuss how DNA evidence links Michael Cisneros to the scene of the crime.
DNA testing has come a long way in nearly 20 years and it’s the hope of prosecutors that this evidence along with opportunity is what can tie Michael Cisneros to the murder of John Snyder Jr.
In 1994, Maria Sides worked with the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation in their forensics lab.
She helped analyze much of the evidence found on the day Snyder Jr. disappeared and testifies that the blood on the toddler’s pajamas were all from the same source.
After studying a number of different samples, she was able to find four which she said contained blood DNA on the pajama bottoms, but it wasn’t a match to any DNA she had to compare to.
“John Snyder Jr. was eliminated as the source of the DNA profile,” said Sides.
“How about John Snyder Senior,” asked Assistant Attorney General, Doug Hammerand.
“John Snyder Sr. was also eliminated as the source of DNA profile,” answered Sides.
DNA technology has improved so those samples from 1994 were sent to the new Combined DNA Index System or CODIS.
A database filled with the DNA profiles of millions of former felons.
“It would meet the requirements as being associated with a crime scene or a crime, and those samples were allowed to be entered into the database and into the forensic index,” said Sides.
Nearly 20 years later, and after Sides’ retirement, Mason City Police received a message they were not prepared for. They found a match.
“On January 30 of 2013, the search from CODIS returned a match,” said Iowa DCI Investigator, Erica Ng.
“What was his name,” asked Hammerand.
“The name listed was Michael Jason Cisneros,” said Ng.
Since the evidence was not obtained through a chain of custody, Iowa DCI did have to obtain another sample from Cisneros who was already incarcerated for an unrelated charge.
The samples, according to investigators had a fewer than one-in-one hundred billion probability of matching others who are unrelated.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, since May of 2014, Iowa and Minnesota have established more than 217,000 offender profiles.
That’s helped in more than 5,000 investigations.
Across the nation, there are more than 10 million offender profiles on record.