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Can DNA predict a face?

Though appearance-prediction technology shows promise, it’s still in its infancy

By
11:29am, December 1, 2015
facial sketch

MUG SHOT  DNA-based facial sketches are moving into the crime-solving arena. 

Florida police are searching for a man who lurks in the shadows.

For more than two years, he has terrorized at least a dozen women, peeping into windows and slipping into bedrooms to watch them sleep. He has touched several women’s feet or hair — some, he has sexually assaulted.

The media dubbed him the “Serial Creeper,” and police are desperate to find him. In September, they released a sketch of a dark-haired, dark-eyed Latino man with smooth skin, high cheekbones and a pointed chin. But the sketch wasn’t drawn by a police artist based on eyewitness accounts. The Creeper has kept his face covered in every assault, says Kelly Denham, a police officer in Coral Gables, Fla. “He’s never been seen.”

So local police had to pursue a less-conventional route: They bought a computer-generated image based on the Creeper’s DNA.

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