Police have used an innovative DNA process to create a new image of a person of interest in the disappearance and violent murder of six-year-old Ljubica Topic in Windsor, Ont. 45 years ago.
Topic was playing with her eight-year-old brother outside of their family home at 1290 Drouillard Road on the evening of May 14, 1971, when a man allegedly approached the children shortly before 9 p.m.
Police said the unidentified man offered Topic a small sum of money to walk with him down the street and also gave change to her brother to distract him.
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Her brother alerted the children’s mother and she went looking for the girl with a friend, before notifying police.
A large-scale search was initiated that included members of the community but Topic was not found. She was last seen walking south on Drouillard Road while holding the man’s hand.
Four hours later, on May 15, 1971 at around 1 a.m., Topic’s body was found severely and violently beaten in the backyard of 1690 Hickory Road.
Police released these images of a person of interest wanted in connection with the 1971 murder of six-year-old Ljubica Topic. Windsor Police Service/Handout
Police released these images of a person of interest wanted in connection with the 1971 murder of six-year-old Ljubica Topic.
Windsor Police Service/Handout
In April 2015, police issued an appeal to the public in the cold case and said they have received numerous tips and have been actively investigating leads —; clearing more than 20 people.
Investigators also recently teamed up with Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company in Virginia that specializes in predicting physical appearance and ancestry through DNA phenotyping, and identified a person of interest in the case with the following features:
Fair skin or very fair skin with 89.2 per cent confidenceBrown or Hazel eyes with 97 per cent confidenceBrown or black hair with 96.6 per cent confidenceZero or few freckling with 93 per cent confidence
The DNA snapshot predicts the person of interest’s ancestry is almost entirely European and primarily from the region of North West Europe, which include people of British, Dutch, Irish, North European, Orcadian, Scottish, and United Kingdom descent.
Using this information, police were able to create an image of the person of interest’s face at the age of 25 and now at the age of 70.
Police said these composite images are “scientific approximations” and are not likely to be exact replicas of his appearance as factors such as smoking, drinking, diet, body mass index, facial hair, and hairstyle can’t be predicted by DNA analysis.