Nancy Anderson

DNA phenotyping is a method for predicting an individual’s physical appearance based on their DNA. It includes evaluating certain genetic markers in an individual’s DNA to determine characteristics such as eye color, hair color, skin tone, and facial features.

The technique can be used to produce a composite representation of a person’s face based on the association between specific genetic markers and physical characteristics. Criminal investigations have utilized DNA phenotyping to build a likeness of an unidentified suspect based on DNA recovered at a crime scene.

In forensic anthropology, it is also used to identify human remains and reconstruct the look of ancient humans. It is essential to note, however, that while DNA phenotyping can reveal some information about a person’s physical appearance, it cannot accurately predict other parameters such as age, weight, or height.

The case we are reading about today is one of several that have been solved using the astounding DNA phenotyping technique.

The Story of Nancy Anderson

Late in 1971, Nancy Anderson relocated from Michigan to Waikiki, Hawaii, to fulfill her ambition of living on the islands. She desired island living before attending college. At the time, she was only 19 years of age.

On January 7, 1972, at approximately 2:30 p.m., Nancy Anderson’s roommate arrived home as she was receiving a demonstration from two silverware salesmen. Her 18-year-old roommate, Jody Spooner, joined them until the men were finished. However, neither woman purchased any silverware.

Jody retired to her room to rest. Jody awoke from her nap at approximately 5 p.m. She went to the kitchen and noticed that the water was still running in Nancy’s bathroom, which she found odd because she believed Nancy had already left for work.

Nancy had multiple stable wounds on her neck, chest, stomach, back, and sides when the police arrived. She had defensive wounds as well. This prevented the police from believing that she committed the crimes. The police gathered an abundance of evidence, including several bloody towels and numerous fingerprints.

Jody told police that she heard something strange at 4:15, but didn’t give it much thought because there were no further noises after that time.

The two salesmen were suspected immediately. Parker Graham and Jeffrey Alward were identified, and they volunteered fingerprints and polygraphs, eliminating them as suspects.

The autopsy revealed that Nancy had been stabbed sixty times, resulting in a total of sixty-three wounds, including three exit wounds. It is believed that the murder weapon was a 10-millimeter-wide, 60-millimeter-long knife.

The investigators exerted their utmost effort to solve the heinous murder, but they encountered dead ends, and the case went cold.

Before the arrival of Parabon Nanolabs, the case had been without a positive lead for 50 years.

How Nancy Anderson’s Case was Solved

In the 1970s, Chirila worked as a graduate assistant at the University of Hawaii, which was in close proximity to Anderson’s residence. He was a Honolulu resident at the time.

In December 2021, the Honolulu Police received information that Chirila may have murdered Anderson.

The police examined the DNA on a bloody towel that was discovered in the apartment. The DNA sample was provided to Parabon Nanolabs, a company capable of predicting the physical characteristics of individuals based on their DNA.


The former deputy attorney general of Nevada, who ran for the state Supreme Court and later worked at the notorious Mustang Ranch brothel, was arrested in Reno as a possible suspect in Hawaii in 1972.

Police were able to get Chirila’s DNA from his son, who lives in California. Chirila was arrested after a warrant was issued to get his DNA.

After his arrest, his DNA matched the DNA contained in the bloody towel.

DNA phenotyping has helped to solve a lot of unsolved cases in recent times.

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