I’ve gotten to know Harley Feldman through our local chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Harley is a brilliant, soft-spoken guy and successful businessman. Three years ago his daughter Allison was brutally murdered at her home in Scottsdale, Arizona. This week her murderer was apprehended. The broad outlines of the story are set forth in stories here and here as well as the video below. I want to add some background that fills out the story based on my conversation with Harley this afternoon.
Allison’s murder sent Harley on two missions. The first was to help the police find Allison’s murderer. To assist law enforcement’s search for Allison’s killer, Harley advocated for the authorization of Arizona law enforcement to use familial DNA searches. Arizona state Rep. Maria Syms took up the cause. As I understand it, Rep. Syms enlisted the support of Governor Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich. They authorized the use of a familial DNA search in the hope it would lead to Allison’s killer. Harley credits them all, but I think he feels a special debt to Rep. Syms.
The familial DNA search based on DNA collected at the scene led the authorities to the perpetrator’s brother, who has long been in state prison on multiple counts of child molestation. The identification of the perpetrator’s brother led authorities to the perpetrator; his blood had previously been tested and retained in connection with a dismissed DUI charge. Having conducted the familial DNA search, the authorities solved the case in two days this week. Without it, Allison’s murderer would still be at large.
Arizona is now one of 12 states that authorizes the use of familial DNA searches by law enforcement. Minnesota is one of the 38 that does not. Before Harley is done, Minnesota will join the 12.
Harley’s second mission is “to keep Allison’s legacy alive.” In Allison’s honor two of Allison’s friends from the study abroad program at the University of Arizona established a scholarship for financial aid to support students who want to study abroad. The program is described here. The scholarship’s GoFundMe page is here. “As of last week,” Harley tells me, “we had helped them raise over $25,000, which was the required level for the endowment. We will continue to raise money to increase the financial aid opportunities.” I am grateful to Harley for his help in letting me share this story with readers.