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Sunday, 15 December, 2002, 09:35 GMT
DNA could solve 24-year mystery
Genette Tate
Newspaper girl Genette Tate disappeared in 1978
The mystery of a Devon schoolgirl still missing after 24 years could be solved thanks to DNA samples from a jumper.

Police have confirmed that a DNA profile of Genette Tate was obtained from the item of clothing kept by her mother, Sheila.

The homes and possessions of those suspected of abducting the girl will now be examined in an attempt to find a DNA match.

Genette's 60-year-old father, John, who now lives in Greece, said the development was "amazing" after all the years which had passed.

John Tate
John Tate: "Amazed" by the development
"We hope that at long last we might have the answers we waited so long for," he said.

Genette was a 13-year-old newspaper delivery girl when she vanished from a country lane in August 1978.

She was last seen by friends near Aylesbeare in east Devon.

Minutes later they found her bicycle and newspapers in the road.

'Great mysteries'

Detective Sergeant Bill MacDonald, now in charge of the enormous case file, said on the 24th anniversary the Devon and Cornwall force "will never give up the battle to establish who abducted Genette".

He said: "It is one of the great mysteries for the force, and it is something we will always investigate.

Robert Black
Robert Black has been interviewed by police
"The file will always remain open."

He said cutting edge DNA technology was being used in the ongoing forensic analysis of items from the case.

In recent years the police investigation has focused on child killer Robert Black.

He was sentenced in 1994 to 10 life sentences for the abduction and murder of three young girls, and the attempted abduction of a 15-year-old girl.

Black was interviewed by Devon and Cornwall detectives in 1996 and 1998 but denied abducting Genette.

Det Sgt MacDonald said Black remained "of interest" to the investigation, together with others.


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