The boyfriend didn’t do it

Published 12:01 pm Wednesday, October 11, 2017

DNA test says Singer slayer was Hispanic

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The man who killed Carrie Singer was not her boyfriend but an unknown Hispanic man.

That’s the conclusion presented last week by the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office concerning the unsolved 2004 murder of Singer, 28, whose body was dumped in a farm field off Blount’s Corner Road.

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The revelation was part of the Discovery Channel’s series, “The Killing Fields,” which will feature the Singer’s unsolved murder this season.

Isle of Wight County Sheriff Mark Marshall said his investigators had tools available to them now that did not exist 13 years ago — namely DNA phenotyping that can pinpoint a person’s ancestry, coloring and some semblance of facial features based on DNA evidence.

That same technology was also able to eliminate Singer’s boyfriend, Robert Dezern, as a suspect. Dezern died in 2013. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The phenotyping was provided by Parabon Nanolabs of Reston and is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.

According to the company, the technology creates a “snapshot” that can help investigators generate leads and narrow the suspect pool. It can also determine kinship between DNA samples out to six degrees of relatedness or, say, a third cousin.

Marshall presented a slide showing what the suspect probably looked like at age 25 and then age-progressed to 55. The hair color, eye color, body type is based on averages derived from the DNA, he said.

Lt. Tommy Potter said the DNA samples used for the phenotyping came from clothing.

Things that may change the suspect’s appearance are environmental factors, such as facial hair, hair style and the effects of smoking, Marshall said.

Potter warned that the composite face is not “a polaroid.”

Meanwhile, DNA evidence was also run through the criminal data base with no results, Marshall said.

Marshall said someone out there may recognize this person, as he probably had some knowledge of Isle of Wight, given the remote area where Singer’s body was found. At the time, investigators were unsure if she was killed in Isle of Wight County or murdered elsewhere.

“We have spent thousands of hours on this case … no results,” he said.

Singer was last seen at the King James Motel in Newport News the day before her body was found in Isle of Wight on July 1, 2004. Singer was living in Hampton at the time and had checked into the hotel after a fight with her boyfriend, Dezern.

Investigators determined that Singer died from seven to nine blows to the head, and despite chasing leads, collecting DNA evidence, using billboards and even a psychic, a viable suspect was never found at the time. 

In 2014, the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office decided to revisit the case, with no luck.

In 2015, Singer was posted online at the “Project: Cold Case” page. The cold case spotlight description said there was a hope that someone would see the post and come forward with information.

One of the principals with Project: Cold Case is Patty Lord, Singer’s mother.  Singer was one of the first Cold Case Spotlights featured by the website.

While the attention from the Discovery Channel initially focused on Singer’s case, the scrutiny led to an arrest in a totally unrelated case. Trabion Tynes was charged with the murder of his father, Johnny Tynes. Tynes was found beaten to death in his mobile home in Rushmere a week before Singer’s body was found.

While investigating the Singer case, some information was aired on a local news station which prompted an individual to come forward with information on the Tynes case, Potter said, adding that it led to additional interviews with others who were in the area in 2004.

Tynes’ case is set for arraignment Oct. 11 in Isle of Wight County Circuit Court.

Anyone with information about the Singer suspect is asked to call the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office at 888-562-5887, option 10 or text IOWCL to 274637 (CRIMES).  {/mprestriction}