The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department is taking a crack at a cold case using an advanced DNA technology. 

On April 24, 1980, Robin Gisela Brooks, was found stabbed to death in the bedroom of her Rosemont apartment. The 20-year-old had been sexually assaulted prior to her death and investigators found DNA evidence of the suspect at the crime scene but have been unable to identify the killer.

Brooks was scheduled to work at “Donut Time” on Kiefer Boulevard on the day she was found dead, but never show up for her shift. That’s when coworkers came looking for Brooks and made the tragic discovery. Brooks’ family has a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for her murder.


Her family may get closer to getting answers because of the sheriff’s department new efforts in finding the suspect. The department has a full DNA profile of the suspect but no matches have come up on any federal or state DNA database. 


Sacramento County investigators are hoping DNA phenotyping could paint a picture of who killed Brooks. The DNA service cost the department $4,000 and is charged per case, it’s not a flat rate fee. It’s the first time the sheriff’s department has used DNA phenotyping to try and solve a case.


What is DNA phenotyping?


The department is using “Snapshot” technology by Parabon NanoLabs. Simply put, phenotyping is a form of DNA testing which creates a computer-generated image of a person’s physical appearance. The image is nearly photo quality and creates a “snapshot” of the person’s detailed ancestry, eye color, skin color, hair color, face structure and even skin freckling.


Phenotyping can also help identify relatives of a person through DNA connections.


The testing cannot determine factors such as age, weight and facial hair since those details are not available in a person’s…