It started with a tip. A source told reporter Lewis Kamb about a DNA match in a long unsolved case, the 1994 killings of Stacy Falcon-Dewey and her 3-year-old son, Jake. After requesting hundreds of records into that and other cold cases, Kamb discovered the match had been made 16 years earlier, yet no one had ever been charged, and the victims’ family had never been told. He wanted to know why.
In reporting the story, Kamb reviewed more than 2,000 pages of investigators’ notes, forensic reports, court records and other documents and interviewed more than 20 people, including a DNA expert and the key detectives and prosecutor who had led the investigation. Jerome Jones, who is serving a life sentence in California, did not respond to repeated efforts to contact him.
Additional information was drawn from FBI Uniform Crime Reports, various scholarly articles about DNA fingerprinting and the FBI’s CODIS database, and news stories in The Seattle Times, the Valley Daily News, Los Angeles Times, The Orange County (California) Register and the (Torrance, California) Daily Breeze.
For the series’ illustrations, news artist Jennifer Luxton interviewed Stacy’s mother, Vianne Falcon, and aunt, Lily Bradley, and relied on family photographs, investigators’ notes, crime-scene photos and video, historical photos, corrections photos and other records.
Read In the Dark.
Story editor: Ray Rivera
Additional research: Miyoko Wolf
Photographers: Ellen M. Banner and Mike Siegel
Photo editor: Fred Nelson
Art director: Frank Mina
Engagement and digital producer: Taylor Blatchford
Project coordinator and copy editor: Laura Gordon