Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Lori Sanchez

Second Advisor

Sharese Pearson-Bush


The purpose of this qualitative narrative study was to identify strategies by which forensic genetic genealogy can be applied to cases of unidentified decedents who are from marginalized populations. Three research questions guided this study: (1) What is each affected group most concerned about regarding the use of forensic genetic genealogy to identify marginalized unidentified decedents or perpetrators of violent crime against marginalized group members?, (2) How have the past experiences of individuals in the affected groups contributed to their stance on the use of forensic genetic genealogy?, And (3) How do stakeholders’ opinions on the use of forensic genetic genealogy change when applied to cases involving marginalized victims of violent crime versus white, heterosexual, cisgender European-descended victims? Dual process theory and terror management theory were the basis of the theoretical framework.

Narrative surveys were used to gather data. Marginalized respondents were aware of the greater difficulties faced in resolving cases involving a marginalized victim, while non-marginalized respondents generally took a tone of asserting that there are not, or should not be, any differences in the difficulty of resolving these cases. Respondents were unaware of what can and cannot be done with an individual’s autosomal DNA, fueling anxiety and hesitation to contribute genetic genealogical information to forensic investigations. Marginalized respondents were also more likely to respond with empathy to prompts regarding hypothetical victims that belonged to their same marginalized communities, while non-marginalized respondents tended to respond with greater interest in their own personal genealogy following the prompts.


Ed.D. Dissertation

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