Crime Con 2023

Orlando, Florida

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Please Note this about a True Crime Convention; therefore it comes with every Trigger Warning.

Life Imitating Art: How A Hollywood DNA Analyst was Hunted in a Real-World Decade of Terror


  • Stephen Busch
  • Stephen Kramer
  • Kaya Callahan
  • Eva LaRue
  • Moderator: Paul Holes
crime con collage from the Eva LaRue and Kaya Callahan stalker panel: Paul Holes, The Steves from the FBI, Kaya Callahan, her mother Eva LaRue (actor)
Paul Holes, “The Steves”, Kaya Callahan, Eva LaRue


This was one of the presentations when I didn’t take notes. I wanted to focus on listening to this story which I had not heard about before. I knew of Eva LaRue from her soap opera days. This criminal ordeal that targeted not only her but her teenage daughter Kaya, is terrifying. Access Hollywood has a short interview with them from 2022 on YouTube.

Their story is unbelievably creepy. The fear inflicted upon them by this stalker lasted over ten years. No matter where they were, he found them. He kept getting their personal information even documentation like leases or titles were not in their names.

“The Steves” from the FBI as they are affectionately called, were on the case quickly thanks to Paul Holes. The three of them had the right technology, law enforcement policies, and connections to solve this case.

Panel Summary from CrimeCon:

Eva LaRue is a Hollywood actress who portrayed Detective Natalia Boa Vista, a DNA analyst, in the hit show CSI: Miami from 2005 to 2012. In her personal life, Eva and her daughter Kaya were subjected for over 12 years to dozens of menacing letters with the sender threatening to rape, torture, and kill them.

The person behind these mailings identified themself as “Freddy Krueger,” the fictional psychotic killer from a horror movie franchise. Even though Eva reported the letters to the FBI, and the envelopes contained DNA evidence, traditional forensic efforts failed to identify the stalker.

In 2019, the letter writer called Kaya’s school, impersonated her father, and directed the school to bring Kaya outside so he could take her home. This attempt to kidnap was a significant escalation, so the FBI employed a new forensic technique: Investigative Genetic Genealogy.

FBI Special Agent Stephen Busch and FBI attorney Steve Kramer tracked down “Freddy Krueger” by uploading his DNA to a genetic genealogy database, the same method that Steve Kramer and Paul Holes had pioneered to identify the Golden State Killer. A few weeks later, Eva and Kaya’s 12 years of terror ended with the arrest of a suspect.

Paul Holes moderated this emotional and educational discussion on stalking, how it changed Eva and Kaya’s lives forever, and what you should do if you ever find yourself the target of a relentless stalker.


The Murder of Christine Frank: How DNA & Detective Work Led to a Breakthrough After 17 Years

Speaker: Michael Fields 

crime con Michael Fields presenter for forensic genetic genealogy

This presentation was the last one I attended before getting to the airport for the trip home. I found Michael Fields to be a personable and inspiring speaker. He kept the audience’s attention with stories and slides about the study of forensic genetic genealogy. Fields knows how to make explaining research funny. He interjected plenty of humorous quips. He gave an overview of how suspects can be tracked down through their bloodlines. By now everyone knows this is how the Golden State Killer was positively identified and captured due to Michelle McNamara’s book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer. Fields was working his case at the very same time with the same methods.

Michael Field's Bio

Michael Fields is a 28-year veteran of law enforcement who works at the Orlando Police Department. After working as a Homicide Detective for 11 years, he is now dedicated to solving cold case homicides. Michael began working with forensic genetic genealogy in 2012, before it even had a name. Prior to his work with homicides and cold cases, he worked in many facets of investigations, including robbery, persons crimes, property crimes, undercover drugs, and tactical crimes. He has performed criminal investigations at the local, state, and federal level.

He is currently finishing a master’s degree in Investigative Forensics and has an undergraduate degree in Criminology. He has been a guest speaker at numerous colleges, universities, and conferences. He has been published in works about cold case homicide, forensic genetic genealogy, and police investigations. Michael has been featured in several shows on the I.D. channel and other crime-related channels.

Michael Fields is a full member of the Vidocq Society, a members-only, crime-solving international think tank group in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that provides a fresh set of eyes via the collective experiences of scores of seasoned professionals.

Panel Summary from CrimeCon:

For 17 years, police detectives worked to figure out who killed a college student named Christine Franke in her Orlando apartment. Although the case had gone cold, each detective did what they could with the technology that was available at that time. But every lead, and every potential clue found at the scene, left them, and Christine Franke’s family, without answers.

Then, in 2018, forensic genetic genealogy (FGG) was responsible for identifying the Golden State Killer…and it changed everything. With FGG now in the mix, the Orlando Police’s investigation into Franke’s death was reinvigorated.

In this dynamic session you’ll learn how Orlando Police Department Detective Michael Fields combined a groundbreaking use of FGG with old-fashioned detective work and an unstoppable determination to solve the case.

Detectives didn’t just build a family tree; they built a family forest. This allowed them to cast a wide net over the suspect’s entire family. That net ultimately narrowed the suspect list down to two brothers.

The Franke case is unique in how police conducted DNA sampling from targeted kinship testing. But how did the suspect’s family feel about having their DNA samples used to arrest and convict the killer?

Other coverage…


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