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The DNA dilemma of similar twin crimes

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It’s the “Parent Trap” – gone bad. 

Twins swapping identities is the premise of the Netflix hit thriller drama “Echoes,” nevertheless it’s a tad darker than the Hayley Mills classic. Michelle Monaghan plays similar twins who’ve switched places every birthday since they were kids into maturity, tricking husbands and youngsters. But, the twisted ritual goes improper one yr after they find themselves as prime suspects in a murder, puzzling an area cop who can’t determine who did it.

While the show could also be highly dramatized, in real life, twins committing crimes – together or individually –  isn’t unusual. And determining who did it may be extremely complicated.

“Equivalent twins have similar DNA – that’s an not possible comparison on the genetic level. One is actually the opposite, there’s no technique to differentiate between the 2 because the whole genetic code is similar,” Jarrett Ambeau, a criminal defense trial attorney and expert in forensic DNA interpretation told The Post. “There’s an actual serious issue on the genetic level with identifying similar twins and even siblings when it comes to genetic material left at against the law scene.” 

“Echoes” on Netflix follows twins who swap identities, leaving a trail of mystery and crime.Netflix

Michelle Monaghan as Leni McCleary in Michelle Monaghan as similar twin Leni McCleary in “Echoes” on Netflix. While the show could also be highly dramatized, in real life, twins committing crimes – together or individually –  isn’t unusual.Netflix

Twin Crimes

Oftentimes, twins commit crimes in cahoots. In June, twin sisters from northern China, Mouhong Zhou and Mouwei Zhou were arrested and investigated for swapping passports. Mouhong was married to a Japanese man, but, resulting from a denied visa, couldn’t leave China. So she swapped identities along with her sister via her passport and left China greater than 30 times before getting caught, while her sis impersonated her while fleeing to Thailand and other countries, in line with police as reported by the South China Morning Post. The sisters may face jail time for the shenanigans.

In 2010, Georgia-based twin sisters Jasmiyah and Tasmiyah Whitehead, then 16, tried to idiot investigators into pondering they’d came across the crime scene of their dead mother. Truly, they were the killers.

Jasmiyah and Tasmiyah Whitehead confessed to killing their mother. 
Georgia-based twin sisters Jasmiyah and Tasmiyah Whitehead were charged with killing their mother in 2010.Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office

Dooming similar DNA

Sometimes it’s a case of just one twin being guilty. In 1992, Alabama siblings Betty Wilson and Peggy Lowe allegedly plotted with a handyman to kill Betty’s husband, Dr. Jack Wilson. The dual sisters were arrested and faced separate murder trials, but in September of 1993, Lowe was acquitted of murder after testifying she didn’t conspire to kill her sister’s husband. Wilson, meanwhile, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

More recently, in 2004, two women were abducted and assaulted by two men in Boston. Considered one of the boys pleaded guilty to the attacks in 2012, however the second man remained at large. Cops found a suspect, Dwayne McNair, through traces of DNA, but he had a similar twin. Testing available on the time couldn’t differentiate between the 2, but police were eventually in a position to secure additional evidence that led to indictments against McNair in 2012. In 2018, he was convicted of eight counts of aggravated rape and two counts of armed robbery and sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Yoan Gomis and Elvin GomisYoan Gomis and Elvin Gomis were each held in custody while French police tried to find out which one was guilty of rape. Yoan Gomis eventually confessed to being the guilty party.

“Various crimes are complicated by these genetic relation issues,” Ambeau said. JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX

The case was a trademark one. Ahead of the trial, prosecutors discovered a latest DNA testing, called second-generation genome mapping, that would distinguish between similar twins, in line with the Suffolk County district attorney’s office. This process enables scientists to trace the genome of every twin to seek out mutations in cells and determine who’s who, and, in turn, guilty.

There was an eerily similar case within the south of France in 2012. Six women were reportedly raped by one man. DNA evidence pointed to 2 similar twin suspects, Yoan and Elvin Gomis. When victims were asked to discover their attacker, they couldn’t differentiate between the twins, and the DNA was no help either because of their similar genetic makeup. Each men were held in custody for 10 months, before Yoan Gomis finally confessed to being the guilty party.

Yoan’s lawyer on the time, Vanessa Cerda, told the Day by day Mail that there have been no hard feelings between the brothers and that Elvin wasn’t upset that Yoan took so long to admit.

“[He] absolutely doesn’t hold it against him,” she said. “It’s all a part of the mystery of the twins.”

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