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DNA Evidence In Arlington Child Molestation Case | News

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DNA Evidence In Arlington Child Molestation Case
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This story is updated with additional information from the Arlington County Circuit Court Clerk. Our earlier version did not include information that some of the DNA profiles from some of the samples did eliminate Michael A. Gardner as a contributor.

 

ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va. (WUSA) - In lab tests, which analyzed DNA from the alleged victims and suspect in a child molestation case, one of the substances found was sperm, according to Arlington County Court officials reading the results of lab tests.

Because the lab results contain the names of the young victims, the court would not release those documents, but both Arlington County Circuit Court Clerk Paul Ferguson and Deputy Clerk Nela Hargrove read them to WUSA's Peggy Fox.

In June of 2011, three little girls, two who were ten years old and one who was nine, accused their friend's father, Michael Gardner, of molesting them.

The girls told the court in a probable cause hearing that while they were at sleepovers at the Gardner's Falls Church house, Mr. Gardner opened their sleeping bags and touched their private parts. Charges include aggravated sexual battery and animate object penetration.

In the documents from the lab, Hargrove read that the lab received several items to examine:
Item # 1: The physical evidence recovery kits;
Item #4: an alleged victim's underpants;
Item #6: an alleged victim's pajama pants;
Item #7: another alleged victim's pajama pants;
Item #9: buccal (cheek) swab from Michael A. Gardner;
Item # 10: swab from another alleged victim.

 

Hargrove read that on Item 4, "A DNA profile foreign to the alleged victim was developed of interior crotch of the underpants and Michael Gardner cannot be eliminated as a contributor." Hargrove read "Michael Gardner's DNA profile is 20.7 quadrillion times more probable than in a coincidental match with an unrelated Caucasian."

An expert in forensic science explained that those numbers mean that the odds of the DNA profile matching to another Caucasian male, are one in 20.7 quadrillion.

Hargrove read that on Item 7, "spermatozoa were identified on a stained area on interior crotch and spermatozoa were identified in a stain on the exterior left leg and from front hem of pajama pants."

Hargrove read from the final portion under Item 7, "Based on these results, a match between the pajama pants, Item 7, and Michael A. Gardner, Item 9, is 3.86 thousand times more probable than a coincidental match to an unrelated Caucasian person."

Hargrove also read that Michael Gardner is eliminated as a contributor from some of the DNA profiles collected from Item 7, specifically, from "the sperm fraction from a representative sample of the stained area on the interior crotch of the pajama pants" and "the interior waistband of the pajama pants."

But also concerning Item 7, Hargrove read that according to a "a DNA mixture profile foreign to the victim developed from an exterior pelvic area of the pajama pants, Michael A. Gardner cannot be eliminated as a contributor."

In more detail, here is what Ferguson read on the findings of the sperm in Item 7:

"A DNA mixture profile foreign to victim was developed from the sperm fraction from a representative sample of the stained area on the interior crotch of the Pajama pants. Michael Gardner, the alleged victim and other alleged victim are eliminated as contributors to this foreign DNA profile. Due to the limited information obtained, the minor profile developed from this mixture is not suitable for comparison. 

No DNA typing results were developed from the sperm fraction of the stain on the exterior left leg from hem and a DNA profile of no value was developed from the non-sperm fraction of this sample. Due to the limited information obtained, this profile is not suitable for comparison. 

A DNA a profile of limited value and foreign to alleged victim was developed from a portion of the interior waistband of the pjs pants. Michael A Gardner victim and victim are eliminated as contributors of this foreign DNA profile. This profile may be suitable for comparison. Due to the limited information obtained, it is not suitable for searching again the VA DNA data bank or submission to the national DNA data bank.
A DNA profile attributed to the alleged victim is also present in the sample ."

"A DNA mixture profile of limited value and foreign to alleged victim was developed from the exterior pelvic area of the pajama pants. Michael Gardner cannot be eliminated as a contributor as their foreign mixture profile. The alleged victim and the other alleged victim are eliminated to this foreign DNA mixture profile. A DNA profile attributed alleged victim is also present in this sample. 

The statistical analysis regarding this DNA mixture profile will be the subject of a separate report Although suitable for comparison, due to the unknown number of potential contributors, and the complex nature of this mixture profile, it is not suitable for searching again the VA DNA databank or submission to the Nat. DNA databank. Additional DNA comparisons can be conducted following the submission of two buccal (Cheek) swabs from another person of interest to the lab."

Gardner was arrested by Falls Church City police on June 22 and was indicted by the Grand Jury on July 18. His trial has been delayed until January 23, 2012. The case has been moved from the small Falls Church court system to Arlington County.

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