Oklahoma mother pushing to change DNA retrieval laws following daughter’s murder

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — “It’s just a pain that never goes away and it has this hole inside of you that’s never going to be filled,” said Maggie Zingman, Brittany’s mother.

Maggie Zingman travels across the country in a car she calls “a caravan to catch a killer.” It’s covered by pictures of her daughter Brittany Phillips who was raped, suffocated, and killed in her Tulsa, Oklahoma apartment in 2004.

“I received a knock on the door and a young sheriff said are you Maggie Zingman, you need to call Tulsa police your daughter has been murdered,” said Zingman.

Zingman says investigators found two sources of DNA on the scene from the same person. They’ve searched it against thousands of suspects in a national database but 13 years later, they still haven’t found a match.

“It’s not lack of trying it’s the fact that about 17 states still wait till conviction and it’s mostly the northeast and the northwest states,” said Zingman.

Several states, including New York state, don’t take DNA samples until a suspect is convicted. Zingman is pushing to change that.

“It could’ve saved my daughter’s life. When we have ruled out so many people, a lot of detectives say well do you think it’s serial because it’s so hard to find him. If we take DNA at arrest it prevents crimes,” said Zingman.

Buffalo Police Lieutenant Jeff Rinaldo believes that would help, but changing the law here in New York state wouldn’t be easy.

“It is definitely a privacy issue, it’s definitely an issue that needs to be looked at and debated. But again from a law enforcement standpoint the more evidence, the more possible clues that can be gathered, the greater chances we have of solving those cases,” said Buffalo Police Lieutenant Jeff Rinaldo.

“I’m a parent. Losing my daughter, that’s never going to end that loss,” said Zingman.

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