DNA Tests On Livingstone Sunhwa's Presumed Remains Inconclusive
The family of the missing St Matthias Tsonzo High School Form Four pupil Livingstone Sunhwa will have to wait a bit longer to find closure after the eagerly awaited Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) tests on his presumed remains came back inconclusive.
DNA testing is said to be inconclusive when it fails to produce information that allows an individual to be either included or excluded as the source of the biological evidence.
As a result, additional tests are now set to be conducted on teeth that were found in a forest to establish whether the remains are Livingstone’s or not.
Blood samples were collected from Livingstone’s mother, Selina Tadya and sister Pride Sunhwa, together with part of the skeletal remains, for DNA testing.
According to The Manica Post, a meeting involving Tadya, investigators and the DNA testing service providers was held in Mutare last week on Friday, with the inconclusive results being presented there.
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Tadya confirmed the meeting to the publication saying that if further tests are inconclusive, the family will not give up its quest for closure. Said Tadya:
We are at a dead end, nothing is moving for seven weeks since the discovery of the remains. No concrete answer could be reached with the collected samples.
They told us that the samples did not yield enough DNA, hence there was no conclusive answer.
It will drag on because they have collected additional samples, the teeth, which they say can also be a reliable source of DNA in post-mortem testing.
They explained the challenges they are facing, but due to the gravity of this case, they said they cannot declare inconclusive results, hence the need for another round of trials with additional samples.
This means waiting for another 21 days. If they fail to come up with conclusive results within 21 days, they will then recommend that the samples be sent for further testing either in South Africa or Botswana where there is more advanced technology.
Their main argument is that the remains were exposed to the rain and the sun for a very long time such that DNA was eroded.
However, from my side they did not collect additional samples as the ones initially collected are still valid.
Tadya, a widow who was working in South Africa before she rushed home following his son’s disappearance, said her life is in limbo. She said:
It is painful and it’s straining me, my life is on hold. I can’t do anything. I cannot go back to work in South Africa. I am just seated at home with no money, yet everything is demanding money.
Soon schools will be open, I need to raise school fees for Livingstone’s sister. Where will I get the school fees when I am not working as I wait for the DNA test results? We desperately need conclusive results to bring closure to this case.
It hurts us as a family because we are still mourning and we do not know when the mourning will end. We are not at peace.
We can only be at peace after ascertaining whether those are his remains or not and accord Livingstone a befitting burial. What we are going through is awful and devastating.
Livingstone (19) disappeared from St Matthias Tsonzo High School in Mutasa on 6 December and is yet to be accounted for.
Prior to his disappearance, had been arrested on theft charges but was allegedly released as he was due to sit for his English final exam paper.
He never showed up for the examination and has been missing ever since then.
More: The Manica Post