GOP lawmaker’s bill would expand DOJ’s genealogy testing for cold case victims

FIRST ON FOX: Unsolved crimes are a burden on victims, their families and the police as they try to apprehend criminals when all leads go cold.

Amid the cold cases, one Pennsylvania Republican lawmaker is aiming to alleviate part of that burden at the federal level.

House Republican Chief Deputy Whip Guy Reschenthaler is introducing the Cold Case Modernization Act this week to expand genealogy testing at the federal level for cold case victims.

SENATE WARNS OF INCREASED CRIME ON CAPITOL HILL AS LAWMAKERS AND STAFF FACE STRING OF ROBBERIES, CARJACKINGS

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., introduced the Cold Case Modernization Act this week to expand genealogy testing at the federal level for cold case victims. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

Reschenthaler’s bill looks to solve cold cases by expanding Department of Justice (DOJ) criteria for grant funding toward forensic genealogy testing for unidentified human remains.

“Across the United States, investigators lack the critical resources to solve the cases of tens of thousands of unidentified human remains,” Reschenthaler said.

“The Cold Case Modernization Act puts these deceased Americans and their grieving families first, using state-of-the-art DNA technology to uncover answers and find the truth,” he continued.

Specifically, Reschenthaler’s bill says that any DOJ “grant awarded to States and units of local government for forensic genetic [genealogy] may be used to identify unidentified human remains without regard to whether the manner of death is determined to be a homicide.”

Julie Murray speaks at rally for cold case victims

Julie Murray, the sister of missing nursing student Maura Murray, speaks at a rally for cold case victims and their families in Concord, New Hampshire, on Aug. 15. (Nancy Cory)

Currently, DOJ interim policy for “Forensic Genetic Genealogical DNA Analysis and Searching” allows funding to be used for declared homicide victims.

Reschenthaler’s legislation would open up the funds to non-homicide victims as well as victims whose causes of death are undetermined.

Reschenthaler’s bill comes as America sees rampant crime, including in the nation’s capital.

In October, the Senate warned lawmakers and Capitol Hill staffers to take precautions amid a rise in crime throughout Washington, D.C., following a series of violent attacks against members of Congress and those who work for them.

Yellow police tape

Reschenthaler’s bill comes as America sees rampant crime, including in the nation’s capital. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

In a bulletin to Senate chiefs of staff, administrative managers, chief clerks and staff directors, the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms suggested tips to reduce the risk of being carjacked and warned of an increase in carjackings around the nation’s capital. The warning came the day after a Senate staff member was robbed at gunpoint and weeks after a House Democrat was carjacked.

“Local authorities note an increase in carjacking incidents in and around Capitol Hill and the District of Columbia,” the bulletin, obtained by Fox News Digital from multiple Senate sources, states.

Listed on the bulletin were a variety of safety tips and reminders, such as “Always keep doors locked and windows up” and “Don’t stop to assist a stranger with a broken-down car; call the police from a safe location instead.”

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Another section primarily discussed what an individual should do if “confronted by a carjacker with a weapon.”

“Your safety is paramount; surrender your car without argument and swiftly leave the area,” the bulletin stated. “Attempt to recall the carjacker’s physical details (gender, race, age, hair/eye color, distinctive features, clothing).”

Fox News Digital’s Kyle Morris, Tyler Olson and Kelly Phares contributed to this report.

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