Tests fail to detect victim’s DNA
Honolulu police found no blood or DNA on the rock on which missing Japanese visitor Masumi Watanabe allegedly hit her head and died nor on the pickup truck tailgate where accused killer Kirk Matthew Lankford said he initially placed Watanabe's body.
Lankford, 23, is on trial in Circuit Court for the presumed murder of Watanabe, 21, who has been missing since April 12.
Honolulu Police Department evidence specialist Walter K.Y. Fung said yesterday he tested the tailgate of Lankford's Hauoli Termite & Pest Control work truck for blood using luminol and did not find any. Luminol reveals iron in blood.
Lankford had testified earlier that he put Watanabe's body on the tailgate after she jumped out of his moving truck, hit her head on a rock and died. He said the body left a tennis ball-size pool of blood which he cleaned three times -- once with some paper towels, again with spray bleach and the third time by hosing down the tailgate with water.
Police also looked for blood on some rocks off Makana Road in Pupukea that Lankford said are the ones on which Watanabe probably hit her head.
Police DNA specialist Barrie Chua-Chiaco said he tested swabs that had been applied to the rocks.
"There was no blood detected on the swabs from the rocks. In regards to the DNA testing, there was no DNA profile obtained from those swabs from the rocks," Chua-Chiaco said.
But he said that is not surprising since the rocks would have been exposed to rain for the past year, which would dilute DNA samples, and to sunlight, which breaks down blood samples.