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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) – Bakersfield and Kern County have continued to push for new ways to solve crimes in recent years.

  • The video highlights the Kern County Regional Crime Lab as it continues to make innovative efforts to solve crimes.
  • Detective John Dilldt has been a law enforcement officer for 23 years, the last five as a detective in the Bakersfield Police Department's cold case unit.
  • For Dilldt, every new unsolved murder case that lands on his desk is a new opportunity, especially given the advances in DNA technology.

Detective John Dilldt has been a law enforcement officer for 23 years, the last five as a detective in the Bakersfield Police Department's cold case unit.

“Oldest [case] probably dates back to the 1980s,” said Dilldt. “If we look at a study with fresh eyes, we may see something that was overlooked and be able to follow up on those areas.”

For Dilldt, every new unsolved murder case that lands on his desk is a new opportunity, especially given the advances in DNA technology.

“When DNA testing first started, it required a lot of DNA,” he said. “Today, the quality is getting lower and lower.”

Bakersfield and Kern County have been pushing for new ways to solve crimes for years.

In January, Kern became the first in the country to use next-generation DNA testing as evidence in a court case, resulting in a conviction. The case: two homeless women killed months apart. Thanks to the Kern County Regional Crime Lab, investigators were able to link the same man – Adrian Chavez – to both crime scenes by testing 152 genetic markers, compared to the usual 24.

“Five years ago, when I started, we might not have been able to find anything, but today it is possible,” said Dilldt.

In one of his oldest cases, Dilldt is currently waiting for test results obtained from the touch DNA of a piece of clothing.

“We hope so,” he said. “It always seems that way, and I can understand why the families of the victims think, oh, the case was classified as cold case, now it's probably closed. It was never closed, even 20, 30 years later.”

If you have any information about an unsolved murder in Bakersfield, please call (661) 326-3921. You may also contact a secret witness at (661) 322-4040.


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