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Allison Foy: Woman’s push for justice after sister was stabbed 40 times helps police obtain DNA technology to catch criminals

The unsolved murder of North Carolina woman Allison Foy has helped pave the way for investigators to crack other unsolved crimes. Authorities credit Foy’s sister for relentlessly pushing for new DNA-collection equipment that can pick up more forensic evidence than previous methods used.

Port City Daily reports that Foy’s sister Lisa Valentino, has been pushing for years to find new ways to help law enforcement gather enough evidence to catch her sister’s killer. Valentino suggested the M-Vac, “a wet-vacuum DNA collection system” that can collect hard-to-find evidence that traditional collection methods typically cannot, such a evidence deep inside porous surfaces.

After approval from City Council, the Wilmington Police Department (WPD) obtained the the system. Although there wasn’t enough evidence found in Foy’s case to make an arrest, Valentino’s push for the equipment has opened doors to catch criminals in both cold and open cases, according to WPD.

“We realize the importance of investing in cutting edge technology in order to solve crime,” Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous said. “This technology will help us with open and cold cases.”

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As CrimeOnline previously reported, Foy, murdered in 2006, was stabbed 40 times and thrown carelessly into a shallow ditch off of the 3500 block of Carolina Beach Road in Wilmington. Valentino told CrimeOnline last year that she was determined to find her sister’s killer, no matter how long it takes.

It’s been 11 years since Foy, and and another murder victim, Angela Nobles Rothen, were found together, deceased and lying beside each other, possibly thrown in the ditch by the same person.

Both cases remain unsolved, despite strong circumstantial evidence that seems to point to one particular person of interest.

Foy visited a local pub, called Junction Pub at the time, on July 30, 2006. When she was ready to leave, a bartender called a cab for her. A few minutes later, a husky man entered the bar and asked if anyone called for a taxi.

Foy followed the cab driver out of the pub and got in his car. Witnesses said it was odd for a cab to arrive minutes after Foy called for a taxi, and even stranger that the cabbie walked into the pub, looking for the caller. It was the last time Foy was seen alive.

Police later determined the cab driver was Timothy Iannone, a felon with a “long criminal history.” Police also determined that Iannone gave his cellphone number out to local bars, restaurants, and pubs and encouraged people to call him if they needed a cab.

“There’s only really been one suspect as far as I’m concerned and that was a cab driver at the time,” Valentino told ABC 3. “He has not been charged but I’m not afraid to say his name. His name has been in the papers. Timothy Iannone.”

Iannone has not been charged in connection with Foy’s death.

Sheryl McCollum, director of Atlanta’s Cold Case Research Institute, has been helping on the Foy case since 2014, after meeting Valentino at a missing persons conference. McCollum, who introduced the technology to Valentino, told CrimeOnline that she’s excited to see what crimes detectives will crack.

“Allison Foy will help solve more cases than any detective in the history of WPD. Ever past and current victim can now get the latest forensic technology on their case! CCRI was honored to work on Allison’s case and bring knowledge of this technology to her family and this fine department. Every murder, rape, burglary, aggravated assault and cold case now has the newest tool available.”

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[Feature Photo: Allison Foy/ Family Handout]