How Did Pizza Crust DNA Help Identify Washington D.C. Mansion Murder Suspect Daron Dylon Wint?
Washington D.C. police identified a suspect in the murder of the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper by finding DNA in an unlikely place: a Domino’s pizza crust. Saliva on a leftover pizza crust left DNA in the Savopoulos home, and it's a potential match for 34-year-old Daron Dylon Wint, according to The Washington Post. Wint, a 34-year old former Marine, has emerged as the only alleged suspect so far in a quadruple homicide, arson, and robbery that occurred last week in a wealthy neighborhood of upper northwest Washington, D.C.
The bodies of Savvas Savopoulos, 46; Amy Savopoulos, 47; their 10-year-old son, Philip; and housekeeper Veralicia Figueroa, 57, were found in the Savopoulos home last week after firefighters arrived on scene, according to the Post. D.C. police obtained an arrest warrant on Wednesday charging Wint with first-degree murder while armed.
How were police able to link Wint with the DNA on the pizza crust in the first place? The Post reported on Thursday that a Domino’s pizza was delivered to the Savopoulos home the night before the fire. A law enforcement source told the Post that a perpetrator had eaten the pizza with gloves on, failing to realize he was leaving plenty of DNA behind by way of his saliva. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives claim it found the pizza crust DNA to be a potential match with Wint’s DNA.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, forensic laboratories use DNA evidence from crime scenes to create a DNA profile, which is then searched against state databases of convicted offenders and arrestees as well as a separate state crime scene database.
DNA evidence, while controversial, has proved crucial in leading police to suspects in many recent murder cases. The New York Post reported that police were able to solve the 21-year-old murder case of Michelle Page thanks to a suspect's DNA that was a match for the father of her child. A former police officer charged with sexual assault was identified earlier this month as an alleged suspect in a 1986 murder in Spokane, Washington, due to a match in a DNA database.
The logic behind federal and state DNA databases is that criminals are rarely one-time offenders. According to NBC Washington, Wint has a court record that includes charges of assault, carrying concealed weapons, and theft in Prince George's County, Maryland, which is why his DNA was already in the system.
D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier said on Thursday that Wint may be somewhere in Brooklyn, New York. D.C. police have asked that anyone with knowledge of Wint's whereabouts contact them at (202) 727-9099.