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Familial DNA leads to indictments for man accused of killing woman in Slavic Village in 2018

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 18:29:12-04

CLEVELAND — A 26-year-old man has been indicted for allegedly killing a 31-year-old Cleveland woman in Slavic Village in September 2018. His arrest was made thanks to familial DNA.

“This horrendous crime has left the victim’s family suffering with numerous questions for nearly two years,” said Prosecutor Michael O’Malley. “Thanks to the coordinated efforts of law enforcement agencies at every level, hopefully some of those questions will soon be answered.”

Jamal Kukla has been indicted on the following charges:

  • Two counts of Aggravated Murder.
  • One count of Murder.
  • One count of Kidnapping.
  • One count of Felonious Assault.
  • One count of Gross Abuse Of A Corpse.
  • One count of Tampering With Evidence.

“More and more, familial analysis positively links DNA evidence from a crime scene to a suspect, providing investigators with leads that crack a case,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. “I’m thankful that our Bureau of Criminal Investigations team was able to assist our local and federal partners in solving this brutal homicide.”

“This indictment is further proof of the effectiveness of the Homicide Review Task Force,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin D. Williams. “The Task Force, which includes investigators from the Cleveland Office of the FBI, has been an abundant resource for our Homicide Unit from the day it was implemented.”

On September 17, 2018, a maintenance man working for a church near Engel and Broadway avenues discovered the woman’s body underneath a set of steps and called police.

The coroner ruled the death as a homicide due to blunt force head trauma and tested DNA evidence collected from the scene.

The database stores DNA profiles of any individual that is arrested on felony charges. If a match is produced, BCI sends a “hit letter” notifying the submitting law enforcement agency so that they can follow up with further investigation if necessary.

An initial match was not found.

After further investigation, the case was identified as a candidate for BCI’s familial DNA search tool, which mines CODIS to find DNA that may match that of an offender’s relative.

A familial DNA match was found and Kukla was identified as a potential suspect.

Law enforcement officials obtained Kukla’s DNA and tested it.

His DNA matched that of the crime scene and he was arrested on May 27.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.

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