Parents of a North County woman brutally killed on Valentine's Day 10 years ago are hoping a new composite of a possible suspect built with cutting-edge DNA technology will lead to closure in the cold case.
Jodi Serrin, 39, was found in her Carlsbad condo raped, beaten and strangled on Feb. 14, 2007. Serrin was a highly-functioning mentally disabled woman.
Serrin's parents, Arthur and Lois Serrin, actually stumbled on the crime when it happened but, thinking they had interrupted their daughter with her boyfriend, had no idea the suspect in the crime would escape right under their noses.
When her parents walked into their daughter's apartment to check in on her, Jodine would not open her bedroom door.
Arthur saw a man in that dimly lit room and immediately thought he had accidentally caught his daughter in a private moment with her boyfriend.
So he told the man to get his pants on and get out.
Believing they had stepped into an embarrassing situation, Arthur and Lois waited in another room for Jodi and the man to come out.
It's something both parents still think about to this day.
"It was just an awful experience," Lois said. "And it was one for which I blame myself for not being more aware."
On the tenth anniversary of Jodine's death, investigators revealed a new website dedicated to the cold case investigation, in addition to new suspect information based on the use of new forensic technology.
Carlsbad police and San Diego District Attorney's office investigators recently got in touch with Parabon NanoLabs, a DNA technology company the specializes in predicting physical appearance and ancestry from unidentified DNA evidence.
Law enforcement officials used the company's Snapshot DNA Phenotyping Service to narrow a list of suspect and generate leads. The software used individual predictions to create a composite of what the person of interest may have looked like in 2007. This is the first time DNA phenotyping technology has been used on a case in San Diego County.
The composite shows a man in his 40s with green or blue eyes, blonde or brown hair and some freckles.
"Just knowing hair color and eye color, for example, could really narrow down the suspect pool," said Tony Johnson, an investigator with the DA's office.
Although the Serrins have to relive the most horrible day of their lives on anniversaries like today, they say catching the person who killed their daughter is what keeps them going.
"We feel that somehow, somewhere, somebody knows something. Whatever that might be it will help," Arthur said.
A combined $52,000 reward is being offered in this case.
Anyone with any information about the murder of Jodine Serrin is asked to visit this site, call the Carlsbad Police Department’s Cold Case Team’s tip line at (760) 931-2225 or the Crime Stoppers anonymous tip line at (888) 580-8477.