Florida police say a new type of genetic profiling has brought them one step closer to identifying a woman believed to be involved in the death of a Canadian couple. David Pichosky and Rochelle Wise were found asphyxiated and bound in January 2013 inside their winter home in Hallandale Beach, Fla.
Local police chief Dwayne Flournoy says officers have found DNA evidence from two females at the crime scene and say both women are believed to be involved in the deaths.
He says DNA phenotyping has allowed them to develop a composite sketch of one of the two women.
He says there is no such detailed profile of the second suspect, but DNA evidence says the two women are not related either to each other or to the victims.
Flournoy said both profiles have been run through databases in both the U.S. and Canada, but have failed to generate any matches.
While no leads have come in for well over a year, Flournoy said he believes information from the public will be the key to solving the crime.
“We have a great deal of information and evidence, we’re just missing one tip,” Flournoy said at a news conference. “We’re just one lead away from solving this case.”
Flournoy said the killings were likely motivated by robbery as Wise’s one-of-a-kind wedding band previously valued at $16,000 was the only item taken from the couple’s home.
The ring was designed with a special clasp to accommodate Wise’s arthritis, he said, adding searches of local pawn shops and jewellers have been fruitless.
He said police have evidence suggesting the fatal confrontation began at the couple’s front door, adding the suspects brought items into the home that have helped produce the DNA evidence.
Flournoy said previously released video footage shot around the couple’s home showing a woman feeding nearby ducks is still believed to be central to solving the case.
He said the woman in the video bears similar characteristics to the profile produced by the DNA phenotyping, a process that allows experts to make predictions about physical traits based on genetic information.
“The way it was explained to me this morning is that it’s like a weather prediction. If I tell you there’s a 10 per cent chance of rain today, there’s a great confidence that it’s probably not going to rain,” he said. “You got good confidence in the information that we’re not looking for an African-American female, we’re looking at someone with light to olive fair skin.”
Flournoy said the investigation has taken local police as far afield as Toronto, New York and Georgia in pursuit of leads that ultimately did not yield results.
Pichosky and Wise’s families have previously said that the couple’s marriage represented a second chance at love for them both. They were loved by each other and members of their Toronto and Florida communities, the family said, adding that 1,500 people attended their funeral.