June 13th, 1996
On June 13, 1996, the body of 18-year-old Angie Dodge was found at her apartment in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She had been raped and brutally murdered early that morning. Part of the evidence collected at the crime scene included semen and hairs from the same suspect, based on the DNA testing available at the time. The following January, police arrested Christopher Tapp, a 20-year-old man living in Idaho Falls, despite the lack of a match between his DNA and that obtained from the crime scene samples. The police were working on the theory that multiple people were involved in the rape and murder. After extensive interrogation, Tapp confessed to the crime. None of the information he provided led to the successful identification of the other suspects. Tapp later maintained that his confession was coerced and appealed the conviction, but it was upheld in 2001 by the Idaho Supreme Court. His subsequent petitions were also unsuccessful. It wasn’t until a combined effort by the nonprofit organizations Judges for Justice and the Idaho Innocence Project that Tapp’s rape conviction was vacated in 2017, his murder sentence was reduced to time served, and he was released. Over the course of Tapp's sentence, authorities continued searching for remaining suspects, partially at the insistence of the murdered girl's mother, and in 2014 accused Michael Usry Jr. of rape and murder. Authorities identified Usry as a suspect through Y-chromosome familial searching, a process by which partial DNA matches to relatives are used to identify an individual. After conducting a DNA test, authorities discovered that Usry did not match the DNA found at the crime scene. In 2019, authorities used autosomal familial searching to find and convict Brian Leigh Dripps Sr., a relative of Usry, who was found to have a full genetic match and who confessed to the crime after interrogation.