Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton Police say DNA links local man to 2011 burglary

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A Chesterton resident has been charged with burglary after Chesterton Police said that DNA testing of a blood drop has implicated him in the forced entry of a residence on South 18th Street more than two years ago.

Matthew Collins Westphal, 30, of 117 S. 18th St., Apt. A, was booked into the Porter County Jail on Tuesday, charged with one count of burglary.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by the CPD, on Nov. 11, 2011, officers responded to a residential alarm on South 18th Street, where the man door of an attached garage had been forced open and entry made into the home through the interior door.

Nothing appeared to be missing from the home but investigators did find what looked to be “small drops of blood on the tile floor of the kitchen,” the CPD said.

Investigators subsequently submitted two swabs of the apparent blood to the Indiana State Police crime lab for DNA testing. On Feb. 27, 2012, the CPD was informed that “DNA profile obtained from the two swabs analyzed are consistent with an unknown male,” the CPD said.

So the case stood, until July 24, 2013, when the CPD was notified of “a potential investigative lead from the DNA profile,” namely, that the DNA profile was found to be “consistent” with that of a “convicted offender sample” provided by Westphal.

On Sept. 4, 2013, a search warrant was obtained and executed for a blood draw from Westphal and that known sample compared by the ISP lab to the swab recovered from the kitchen floor at the burglary scene, the CPD said. According to the lab, “in the absence of an identical twin, Matthew Collins Westphal is the source of the DNA to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty.”

Residential burglary is a Class B felony punishable by a term of six to 20 years.



Posted 1/30/2014