Taylor Kia brings child-safety program to ToledoWritten by Zach Davis | | email@example.com
Taylor Kia of Toledo is teaming with DNA Lifeprint to help keep children safe.
The car dealership on 6300 W. Central Ave. has partnered with renowned Detective Joe Matthews to host a free event to give parents everything they need to help law enforcement agencies find their children if they ever were lost or abducted.
The event takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 16.
Among the items each parent will receive is an FBI-certified biometric 10-digit fingerprint profile, a high-resolution photograph of the child in full color, a ‘Child Safety Journal’ that provides law enforcement with the answers to 50 necessary questions after a child is missing and a home DNA identification kit.
Parents keep every bit of information gathered and nothing is kept on file about participating children.
DNA Lifeprint was founded by Matthews, a former supervisor in charge of homicide for the Miami Beach Police Department.
The idea for the system came from the “Baby Lollipops” case he solved in 1990.
“In the ‘Baby Lollipops’ case there was a baby that was found dead, abused and tortured in the bushes and we weren’t able to identify it,” Matthews said.
The case was named ‘Baby Lollipops’ after the shirt the child, 3-year-old Lazaro Figueroa, was wearing. When he was later identified, Matthews helped prove that his mother, Ana Maria Cardona, as well as her girlfriend, Olivia Gonzalez, were responsible for his abuse and death. Cardona has spent the past 20 years on death row and was given a retrial last June, where she was again sentenced to death.
Gonzalez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was released on good behavior in 2008.
Because of the original difficulties the police had in identifying Figueroa, Matthews said he wanted to find a way to help law enforcement agencies more easily identify children and their locations through DNA.
Matthews’ first step was to try and get a bill passed that could help provide the DNA of children in social services.
“I tried to formulate a federal bill that would mandate the DNA of social service children,” Matthews said. “We were unsuccessful but as a result of that I developed a home DNA information kit.”
That kit started the beginning of DNA Lifeprint, in which Matthews teamed up with “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh to promote the program.
“We did the best we could,” Matthews said. “John Walsh told me ‘You couldn’t get the federal government to pass a bill, just do it on your own.’”
With that in mind, Matthews created the DNA Lifeprint program in 1996 and has distributed thousands of kits since.
Matthews first met Walsh in 1981 when Walsh’s son, Adam, had been kidnapped and murdered. After coming in to assist on the case numerous times over the next few decades, Walsh later asked Matthews in 2006 while he was working cold cases for “America’s Most Wanted” if he would solve his son’s murder.
“It was a very troubling case for so many years,” Matthews said.
“It seemed like with each administration I would be called back in but never had the opportunity to work the case like we would on Miami Beach.
“In 2006, John asked me if I would prove once and for all who killed their son. I worked the case for two years and nine months and beyond any doubt whatsoever I was able to prove, with actual evidence that was overlooked for 27 years, that Ottis Toole did murder Adam Walsh. The case is officially closed.”
The new evidence included crime scene photos that Matthews said had never been developed, which proved Toole was the killer.
Matthews has teamed up with author Les Standiford to release “Bringing Adam Home,” which details the case of Adam Walsh. It made No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal best seller list and No. 22 in the New York Times.
The ‘Code Adam’ program, which was designed later on to help find lost children in department stores, was named in Adam Walsh’s memory.
On the web: visit www.DNA-Lifeprint.com and click on links for more information.