ATHENA Brownfield’s family may be frustrated to still not know her fate, but the identification process takes a while, a leading forensics expert has told The U.S. Sun exclusively.
“You have to do the extra work,” Jennifer Shen, a retired laboratory director at the San Diego Police Department, told The U.S. Sun.
Investigators examine the area where remains were found in rural Grady County, Oklahoma[/caption]
Investigators uncovered the remains of a child in rural Grady County, Oklahoma, about 44 miles east of Oklahoma City on January 18[/caption]
The four-year-old was allegedly killed by her caretakers on Christmas Day and a body was found on the 18th of January after she went missing.
Shen said the delay in revealing the identity of the body found simply means the officers in the case are leaving no stone unturned for fear of heaping further agony upon an already devastated family.
“You have to be sure, because how horrifying would that be?” Shen said of making sure the identification of the remains is accurate without a doubt.
“You’re like: ‘That’s your child?’ And then: ‘Oh, my God it’s not.’
“And if you think about it, a lot of forensics is about probability. The probability is that your entire city was looking for one missing child.
Shen says because of the wintry conditions where the body was found, the “decomposition level wouldn’t be that high,” although the presence of animals and bugs could fasten up the process somewhat.
Nevertheless, the forensic team in charge will methodically tick every box before delivering the heartbreaking news to family members.
“In a case like this with a lot of attention on it, you have to go through the whole process. They’re probably doing DNA analysis at the moment, and that takes some time.
“By developing a DNA profile, you can compare that DNA to something from that victim’s world: a favorite hairbrush, toothbrush for example – something that would have DNA on it.
“If they don’t have anything involving the DNA directly, then you’re looking for relatives so you can compare the DNA to them.”
“Honestly, you want to be very, very sure,” stressed Shen.
“You have to do the work to back up your assumptions. It takes a little while and it is frustrating but they have to do all the actual work to prove what they know.”
“So it’s very frustrating for people who don’t work in the field. It’s frustrating for people who do work in the field too. I think we’ve been trained to think that things are very fast.
“But the practices take a while.”
Brownfield’s heartbreaking funeral took place in Oklahoma on Wednesday despite no official confirmation from law enforcement officials that the body discovered was indeed little Athena.
Ivon Adams has been charged with murder while both he and his wife, Alysia Adams, have been charged with child neglect.
Alysia Adams, according to arrest affidavits, told authorities that her husband beat the tot and buried her body before remains were found in rural Rush County, around 44 miles east of Oklahoma City, where human remains belonging to a child were discovered.
Ivon Adams was arrested last week in Arizona on murder and child neglect charges in the death of Athena Brownfield[/caption]
Alysia Adams was said to be a caretaker for Athena and her sister and has been arrested by cops and charged with child neglect[/caption]