CeCe Moore

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CeCe Moore
Born1969 (age 49–50)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
OccupationGenetic genealogist, consultant
Years active2010 to present
Known forWorking on high profile human identification cases

CeCe Moore (born 1969) is a genetic genealogist who has appeared as a guest on many TV shows and as a consultant on others such as Finding Your Roots. She has helped law enforcement agencies in identifying suspects in over 50 cold cases in one year using DNA and genetic genealogy.


Moore was born in 1969[1] to Anthony Michael Moore (1935–2008) and Janis Proctor.[2] She studied theatre, film, and vocal performance at the University of Southern California and has appeared in commercials, directed and casted advertising campaigns, and appeared in professional musical theatre shows such as The Fantasticks and West Side Story.[3][4][5]

Moore became interested in DNA genealogy in 2003[6] and has appeared as a guest on TV shows such as Finding Your Roots, 20/20, The Doctors, The Dr. Oz Show, CBS This Morning, The Today Show, Good Morning America and CBS 60 Minutes. She is the genetic genealogy consultant for Finding Your Roots and Genealogy Roadshow[3] and heads the Parabon NanoLabs genetic genealogical unit.[7]

Human identification cases[edit]

There have been a number of human identification cases in which Moore has been a key player. In 2014, she was the genetic genealogist who worked with the Branum family on the Thomas Ray Lippert University of Utah artificial insemination sperm swap case.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14] Paul Fronczak was a newborn who was kidnapped from his mother's arms by a woman posing as a nurse in a Chicago hospital in 1964 and believed to have been returned to his natural parents in 1966. In 2015, Moore's team of genetic genealogists uncovered the true identity of the man raised as Paul Fronczak. Using the methods Moore uses for birth parent search in adoption, it was discovered that his real name is Jack and he has a missing twin named Jill.[15] In 2015, Moore and a team of researchers established the true identity of amnesiac Benjaman Kyle as William Burgess Powell. In 2004, Kyle was found outside of a Burger King in Georgia; doctors determined he suffered from dissociative amnesia. For 11 years neither Kyle nor law enforcement assisting in his case knew his true identity, which he was able to later reclaim.[16][17] Moore works with adults who were abandoned as babies to identify their biological identities. The birth parents of California foundling Kayla Tovo were identified,[18][19] as were the birth parents of the Los Angeles area three half-sibling foundlings who were featured on 20/20 in May 2016,[20] and the birth parents of the Tulsa Fairgrounds foundling "May Belle" aka Amy Cox, as featured on The Dr. Oz Show in October 2016.[21]

As a genetic genealogy researcher for the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in 2015 Moore made the discovery that LL Cool J's mother was adopted. Through analysis of his DNA, she was able to identify his biological grandparents and introduce him to his 90-year old biological maternal grandmother.[22][23][24]


Family research[edit]

Moore founded a Facebook group called DNA Detectives Facebook group for adoptees and others of unknown parentage trying to use DNA to help identify birth family.[25] In 2018, this Facebook page had 100,000 followers.[1]

As a result of discovering that her brother-in-law is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings after a 23andMe test revealed unexpected African ancestry, Moore founded the Hemings/Jefferson Autosomal DNA Project.[26][27]

Criminal investigations[edit]

In 2018 Moore joined Parabon NanoLabs as head of their genetic genealogy unit and had three genealogists working for her.[28][29] Parabon investigates cold cases using genetic genealogy. In September 2018 Moore said she was able to solve about half of the cases on which she was working.[29] In February 2019 she was optimistic that most cold cases could be solved using public DNA data in a few years.[30][31] However, in May 2019, GEDmatch, the DNA database that she had mostly used to solve cold cases, changed its privacy rules so that it became much more difficult to solve cold cases. Moore said "Whatever one thinks about this decision, it is inarguable that it is a setback for justice and victims and their families."[32]

Case results[edit]

  • Her first case helped lead to the arrest in 2018 of William Earl Talbott II for the murder of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg in 1987.[33] He plead not guilty but in June 2019, he was found guilty of two counts of aggregated first-degree murder.[34]
  • In 2018, she helped the police arrest Raymond Rowe[35] for the 1992 sexual assault and murder of the 25-year-old schoolteacher Christy Mirack in East Lampeter Township, Pennsylvania.[36] Rowe confessed and was sentenced to life without parole.[37]
  • She also helped lead the police to arrest Gary Hartman,[35] a suspect in the 1986 rape and murder of a 12-year-old child, Michella Welch in Tacoma, Washington.[38] Washington State. In 2019 Washington state passed "Jennifer and Michella's law" named after Michella Welch and Jennifer Bastian a 13-year-old girl also murdered in 1986. This law allowed police more latitude in taking DNA samples from convicted sex offenders.[39]
  • She also helped identify the murderer in a 1981 stabbing and strangulation of 40-year-old realtor Virginia Freeman in Brazos County, Texas as James Otto Earhart who had been executed in 1999 for the murder nine-year-old Kandy Kirtland in 1987.[38][40] Earhart's body was dug up and a DNA match made between evidence at the crime scene and between him and his son. Earhart was also suspected of having murdered 51-year-old Ruth Richardson Green in 1986.[41][42]
  • Also in 2018, she helped police find John D. Miller, the murderer of April Marie Tinsley, an eight-year-old girl who was raped and strangled in 1988 near Fort Wayne, Indiana.[43] Miller confessed to the crime after he was arrested[44] and was sentenced to 80 years in jail.[45][46]
  • In 2018, Matthew Dusseault and Tyler Grenon were arrested as suspects in the 2016 murder of an 81-year-old woman in Woonsocket, Rhode Island in a case assisted by Moore and Parabon.[47]
  • In 2018, Moore and Parabon helped police with the arrest of Spencer Glen Monnett who was charged with the rape, burglary and assault of a 79-year-old woman in St. George, Utah in 2018.[48]
  • She also helped the police with the 2018 arrest of Darold Wayne Bowden in connection with the serial rapes in Fayetteville, North Carolina from 2006 to 2008 (called the Ramsey Street Rapist),[49]
  • Moore helped with the arrest of Michael Henslick for the murder of 22-year-old Holly Cassano in 2009 in Champaign, Illinois,[50]
  • She also assisted with the identification of Marlon Michael Alexander for a series of rapes that took place from 2007–2011 in Montgomery County, Maryland[51] Alexander confessed and was sentenced to life in jail[52]
  • Moore helped with the arrest of Luke Fleming for the 1999 rape and murder of 47-year-old Deborah Dalzell in Sarasota, Florida.[53]
  • Moore identified Robert Eugene Brashers (who committed suicide in 1999) as the man who raped and murdered 28 year old Genevieve Zitricki in Greenville, South Carolina in 1990[54] and murdered 12-year old Megan Sherer and her mother 38-year-old Sherri Sherer in Portageville, Missouri in 1998.[55]
  • She also helped police with the arrest in October 2018 of Michael Wayne Devaughn for the 1990 'Labor Day Murder' of 65-year-old Betty Jones, and the rape of 81-year-old Kathryn Crigler in Starkville, Mississippi.[56]
  • In November 2018, she helped the Fulton County, Georgia police with the arrest of Jerry Lee in Alabama for the 1997 murder of 28-year-old Lorrie Ann Smith,[57]
  • She helped the Orlando, Florida police with the arrest of Benjamin Holmes for the 2001 armed robbery and murder of 25-year-old college student Christine Franke[58][59]
  • She also helped the Santa Clara, California police with the arrest of John Arthur Getreu for the murder by strangulation of 21-year-old Stanford University graduate Leslie Marie Perlov in 1973[60] (Getrue was later also charged with the 1974 killing by strangulation of another victim, 21-year-old Janet Taylor in Palo Alto, California[61]).
  • In December 2018 Moore's genetic genealogy unit was instrumental in the arrest of Jerry Lynn Burns for the murder by stabbing 39 years before, of 18 year old Michelle Martinko in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.[62]
  • In January 2019, Moore's group at Parabon identified William Louis Nichols as the violent rapist of a 12-year-old girl in Hernando County, Florida in 1983 using genetic genealogy. However Nichols had already died in 1998.[63]
  • Moore's genetic genealogy group at Parabon also helped with the arrests in January 2019 of Russell Anthony Guerrero for the murder of 30-year-old Jack Upton 28 years before in Fremont, California.[64]
  • She helped with the arrest of Zachary Bunney for the murder by stabbing with a machete of Scott Martinez in 2006 in La Mesa, California.[65]
  • In January 2019, Moore's group identified Jerry Walter McFadden as the murderer and rapist of 20-year-old Anna Marie Hlavka in Portland, Oregon in 1979. However McFadden had already been executed for murder and rape in Texas in 1999.[66]
  • In February 2019 Moore's team helped the Alaska police with the arrest of Stephen H. Downs in Maine for the murder of 20-year-old University of Alaska student Sophie Sergie in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1993.[67]
  • In February 2019 her team helped Virginia police with the arrest of Jesse Bjerke for the rape of a 24-year-old female lifeguard at gunpoint in Alexandria,Virginia in 2016. Bjerke confessed to the rape.[68]
  • She helped California police with the arrest of James Alan Neal for the 1977 abduction and murder by strangulation of 11-year-old schoolgirl Linda O'Keefe in Newport Beach, California.[69]
  • Her team lead California police to identify Joseph Holt as the perpetrator of the sexual aggression and murder of both 27-year-old Brynn Rainey in 1977 and 16-year-old Carol Andersen 1979 near South Lake Tahoe, California. However Holt had already died in 2014.[70]
  • Her team helped with the arrest in March 2019 of Thomas Lewis Garner as a suspect in the 1984 beating and death by strangulation in Sanford, Florida, of 25-year-old Pamela Cahanes who had just graduated from US Naval basic training.[71]
  • Also in March 2019, her team helped police with the arrest of Raymond L. Vannieuwenhoven charged with the murder of 25-year-old David Schuldes and the sexual aggression and murder of Schuldes fiancée 24-year-old Ellen Matheys in 1976 in Silver Cliff, Wisconsin.[72]
  • She helped identify Kenneth Earl Day as the person who raped a 53-year-old woman in 1989 and raped and murdered 44-year-old Le Bich-Thuy in 1994 in Rockville, West Virginia.[73] However, Day had already died in 2017 at the age of 52.
  • Also in March 2019, Moore's team at Parabon helped Alabama Police with the arrest of a truck driver and preacher with no criminal record, Coley McCraney, who was charged with the murder of two teenage girls, Tracie Hawlett and J.B. Beasley, in Ozark, Alabama in 1999.[74]
  • Her team also helped Montana police identify Cecil Stan Caldwell as the prime suspect in the rape and murder of 24-year-old Linda Bernhardt and the murder of her husband 24-year-old Clifford Bernhardt in Billings, Montana in 1973. However Caldwell (a co-worker of Linda Bernhardt) had already died in 2003.[75]
  • In March 2019, Moore's team identified a body which had been found beside the James River in 2016 as Hassan A. Alkebu-Lan of Richmond, Virginia using genetic genealogy. Police did not suspect this was a crime scene.[76]
  • In May 2019, Moore's team at Parabon assisted police with the arrest of Richard E. Knapp charged with the rape and murder of 26-year-old Audrey Frasier in 1994 in Vancouver, Washington.[77]
  • Her team helped identify Jeffrey Hand as the killer of 19-year-old Indiana State University student Pam Milam who was raped and strangled in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1972. However Hand had already died in 1978.[78]
  • Brian Leigh Dripps confessed to the sexual assault and murder by stabbing of 18-year-old Angie Dodge in 1996 after Idaho Falls, Idaho Police charged him in May 2019. Moore had helped police investigate this case in which other men had previously been targeted by the police.[79] One man, Christopher Tapp, had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the crime. Tapp was exonerated.[80]
  • Johnnie B. Green, Jr., was arrested and accused of nine rapes during the period from June 2009 to December 2010. Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, credited Moore's Parabon team for its genetic genealogy assistance.[81]
  • Frank Edward Wypych was identified as being responsible for the murder and sexual assault of Susan Galvin in 1967 in Seattle, Washington. However Wypych died in 1987. His body was exhumed and his DNA extracted to verify the identification, which was announced on May 7, 2019. This was the oldest cold-case (52 years) to be solved by Moore's team using genetic genealogy to-date.[82]
  • Roger Hearne Kelso was identified in June 2019 as the homicide victim found inside a trash can during building excavation in 1985 in Anne Arundel County, Maryland using Parabon's genetic genealogy unit. Kelso was last seen in 1962. The perpetrator was not identified.[83]
  • In July 2019, Moore's team from DNA Detectives helped Riverside, California police identify a non-verbal man who had been found unconscious at Christmas 2018.[84]
  • The Steuben County Indiana police announced in July 2019 that, with the help of Parabon Nanolabs, they had identified the body of a woman found near Angola, Indiana in 1999. The woman was named as Tina L. Cabanaw, from Detroit. The cause of death was described as highly suspicious and undetermined.[85]
  • In August 2019, Ivan Keith was arrested in Seal Cove, Maine and charged with five counts of aggravated rape in the 1990s in Massachusetts. Keith had a history of sexual offences. Parabon had assisted police by used genetic genealogy to identify Keith as a suspect.[86]
  • Donald McQuade was arrested in September 2019 in Gresham, Oregon and charged with first and second-degree murder of 16-year-old Shelley Connolly in 1978 in Anchorage, Alaska. Connolly had been beaten, raped, dragged from a moving car and thrown over an embankment. She had tried to crawl out of the embankment but had died in the cold of the Alaskan winter. Moore's team at Parabon had helped local police using genetic genealogy and DNA from under Connolly's nails and on her body.[87]
  • 11-year-old Terri Lynn Hollis was sexually assaulted and murdered by strangulation in 1972 in Torrance, California. In 2019, Cece Moore and her team at Parabon helped police identify Jake Edward Brown as the possible killer. Brown had died in Arizona in 2003 but police exhumed his body and confirmed that his DNA was a match from the murder scene. Brown had been arrested for rapes in 1973 and 1974 and had served time in jail after Hollis' murder.[88]
  • In September 2019, Moore's team helped Florida police with the arrest of Robert Hayes who was charged with the murder of 35-year-old Rachel Bay in March 2006 in Palm Beach county, Florida DNA from Bay's murder scene matched DNA form a cigarette that Hayes had discarded. Hayes was also suspected of being a serial killer and murdering Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton in a December 2005 - February 2006 time period in Daytona Beach.[89]
  • Jeffrey King was indicted by a grand jury in September 2019 for the rape of a 22-year-old woman at the University of Delaware,Newark, Delaware, in 1993. In October 2019 King turned himself in to the police. Moore and Parabon had used genetic genealogy to assist the police in this case.[90]
  • In October 2019 Moore and Parabon helped police identify the remains of the body of a murdered teenage girl nicknamed 'The Fly Creek Girl' found in 1980 near Amboy, Washington. The girl, Sandra Morden, was born in 1962 and Police beloved she was murdered in 1977 or 1978.[91]
  • In November 2019, Moore and Parabon were instrumental in helping police arrest Giles Daniel Warrick who was charged with murder and seven rapes in Montgomery county, Maryland and Washington DC in the 1990s (The Potomac River Rapist).[92]


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External links[edit]