The Genetic Detective on ID is investigating the groundbreaking case of Angie Dodge, who was brutally murdered in 1996 by Brian Dripps.
The case was plagued with errors and complications, which meant an innocent man served a twenty-year sentence while the real killer escaped justice for over 20 years.
On the night of June 13, 1996, 18-year-old Angie Dodge was living in her first apartment in Idaho Falls when she was brutally raped and murdered. Her body was discovered in the apartment the following day by a couple of coworkers.
In January 1997, 20-year-old Christopher Tapp became a suspect in the case. Despite his DNA not matching that found at the crime scene, he was still arrested for the crime.
The police believed that he was probably part of a group of men that had committed the crime. Despite always declaring his innocence, he served a full 20-year sentence.
Despite Tapp serving time, the police continued investigating, mainly at the insistence of Carol Dodge, Angie’s mother.
Eventually, in 2018, 22 years after the murder, Brian Leigh Dripps was arrested and charged with the murder. Tapp was finally exonerated.
At the time of the murder, Dripps had lived across the street from Angie. The pair had known each other, not as friends, but as acquaintances.
Police had already interviewed Brian Dripps
Dripps had been contacted early on in the original investigation, the police had interviewed him and put his name in a file. But unfortunately, there just weren’t enough clues to link him to the crime at that time.
What finally brought Dripps down was advancements in forensic science along with a determined group of officers who would not let Angie’s killer go unpunished.
Investigators enlisted the help of genetic genealogist CeCe Moore, who used techniques first pioneered in The Golden State Killer case in 2018 to track down Dripps.
DNA retrieved from the crime scene was inputted into genealogy website databases in the hope that one of the killer’s relatives had submitted their DNA to one of these websites. When investigators get a hit, they can then research the killer’s family tree and narrow it down to the murderer.
At a press conference, Moore said that this was the first time they had caught a suspect using such degraded DNA. She stated that a lot had been learned from studying this DNA, and that would help in solving future cases.
Moore added, “it’s going to inform other cases. So Angie has given us something here.”
Dripps trial has been set for June 8, 2021. Angie’s family has expressed dismay at the constant delays which have thus far prevented Dripps from facing justice.
He has been charged with first-degree murder and rape; he can expect to serve a life sentence. However, at the end of last year, the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Dripps.
More from Investigation Discovery
Follow the links to read about more crimes profiled on ID.
Previously on The Genetic Detective, William Earl Talbott brutally killed a young Canadian couple in 1987. Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg had only traveled south for one night when Talbot attacked them.
Beth Williams plied her friend Joshua Zachary with alcohol and money before persuading him to murder her ex-boyfriend Chuck Rock. Zachary doused Rock with gasoline before setting him on fire. The police subsequently arrested Zachary as he tried to flee the scene across a river.
The Genetic Detective airs at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.
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