The murder of Angie Dodge is still unsolved. Her case will be documented on 48 Hours tonight. The episode titled “The DNA of a Killer” will highlight details of the murder case, which occurred almost 20 years ago after the 19-year-old was found dead in her Idaho Falls apartment. The show will also cover how Chris Tapp’s false confession led to a 20-year stint in prison for a crime that he didn’t commit. There is one more important aspect of the story that CBS 48 Hours will cover. Murder-mystery filmmaker Michael Usry was almost a suspect in the murder, and the website Ancestry.com had a part in it. As for the wrongful conviction of Chris Tapp, he was released from prison in March of this year.
Tonight’s 48 Hours goes back to 1996 when co-workers discovered the body of Angie Dodge in her apartment. Police arrived at the 444 I Street apartment in Idaho Falls, where they found the victim dead in a pool of blood. Dodge’s co-workers told police that they came to check on her after she failed to show up to work at the beauty salon that morning.
Angie Dodge’s mother got the shock of her life when she called the salon that morning to speak with her daughter and was told that she had been found dead. It sent her on a hunt to find the killer.
At the crime scene, detectives noted that the murder of Angie Dodge was motivated by anger. An autopsy report confirmed that her throat had been cut. She was also raped. At the time, they believed that there was more than one person who participated in the crime.
Detectives thought they had found the answer when they hauled Chris Tapp in for questioning. Chris Tapp had no idea that one conversation with police would lead to many other interrogations and finally a confession, which led to a conviction and a sentence of life in prison, the Post Register reported.
The story of Chris Tapp was the basis for Dateline NBC’s coverage in 2012, which ended with a denial of his appeal. Since that time, it has been confirmed that the DNA and sperm sample were not a match for Christopher Tapp. According to East Idaho News, Dateline NBC’s Keith Morrison will take part in a collaboration with Investigation Discovery for the upcoming Who Killed Angie Dodge crime special that will also examine the case.
Angie Dodge’s mother started out believing that Tapp was the killer, but after she started her own investigation and reviewed the confession tapes, it was obvious to her that he had been coerced.
By 2014, there was no match to the DNA that was taken from the crime scene. This was troubling since law enforcement investigators didn’t have all of the killers. Remember, they have always functioned from the point of view that there was more than one person at the scene. Although other experts believe that there was only one killer.
On 48 Hours, you’ll hear how director Michael Usry’s love for murder flicks made police eye him as a possible suspect. The Electronic Frontier Foundation website describes how it all unfolded.
“The Idaho police sent the semen sample to a private lab to extract a DNA profile that included YSTR and mtDNA—the two genetic markers used to determine patrilineal and matrilineal relationships.The cops chose to use a lab linked to a private collection of genetic genealogical data called the Sorenson Database (now owned by Ancestry.com ). Ancestry.com linked the crime scene DNA to DNA from a man born in 1952. That man didn’t fit the age profile of the murderer, so the investigators used the genealogical information to trace his male descendant line and find his son, Michael Usry Jr., born in 1979.”
Police also connected Michael Usry to Idaho Falls after they discovered that he had several Facebook friends who lived near the area. The fact that Usry liked to make movies about murder didn’t help him, either. The Electronic Frontier Foundation website continues this way.
“Police learned Usry was a filmmaker who had been involved in making a few short films that had homicide or killings in the story line. Based on this completely circumstantial evidence, the Idaho investigators got a warrant to collect a swab of Usry’s DNA. They took him to an interrogation room, questioned him without a lawyer present, and eventually collected a DNA sample. Then Usry sat on pins & needles for a month waiting for the results.”
His DNA did not match. Michael Usry was finally cleared. You can listen to more of Michael Usry’s story on 48 Hours when it airs tonight at 10 p.m. on CBS.
[Featured Image by Taylor Carpenter/AP Images]