The case against Daniel Ray Skaggs hinged on an unknown DNA profile developed in 2004. Thanks to the tireless efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement and Bode Technology, a serial rapist was brought to justice.
When “Jane” was raped by an unknown assailant in 1990, despite their best efforts, the Brandon, Mississippi police department struggled to identify a suspect. When sometime later a man in jail for similar crimes sent a letter claiming to be Jane’s assailant, police were skeptical. However, while they were unable to conclusively link the potential suspect to the crime, they were also unable to rule him out. Nonetheless, Jane’s case went cold.
By 2004, the use of DNA in solving crimes was in its early days and a new Brandon police investigator decided to reopen Jane’s case. Though Mississippi Forensics ruled out the man who had confessed to the crime, they were able to develop a new unknown DNA profile. This profile, that of Jane’s rapist, was uploaded into CODIS but received no hits.
It wasn’t until 2017 that a Mississippi DNA analyst and CODIS administrator was notified that the DNA profile associated with Jane’s case had been matched to another unknown rape case in Memphis, Tennessee.
In 2021, the Rankin County District Attorney, at the suggestion of the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory, contacted Bode Technology for assistance. Bode developed a DNA profile from case evidence swabs and then began the process of building a family tree from birth, death and marriage records from across the country. They narrowed the suspect down to either Daniel Ray Skaggs, who was living in Oklahoma, or his brother. Daniel Ray Skaggs had criminal records in various states for assault, rape and attempted abduction, leading officers to believe this could be their assailant.
The Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations provided assistance by collecting discarded trash from Skaggs’ home from which a DNA profile was developed and compared to the profile from the 2004 DNA report. The statistical probability that Skaggs was the rapist in the case in the Memphis case was 1 in 660 quintillion. That he was Jane’s rapist had a 1 in 10 billion statistical probability. Daniel Ray Skaggs was convicted on June 22, 2023 and was sentenced to two life sentences.