Slime and punishment
Two hundred kilometers north of Hobart, Tasmania, on a late September afternoon in 2001, two men broke into the rural home of 71-year-old Fay Olson. The intruders—armed with sticks and wearing black hoods—ransacked Olson’s home, forced her to open a safe, stuffed AU$550 into a pillow sack, and fled into the bush surrounding the house. They left Olson tied up with a belt cinched around her ankles. The pair made off with their loot scot-free, but one of the perpetrators inadvertently left something behind that would spell his undoing 8 years later: a leech, swollen with his DNA-filled blood.
Tasmanian investigators found little in the way of evidence that could tie the criminals to the crime, but one of the officers on the scene noticed a bloated leech wriggling next to the pilfered safe. He collected the parasite—likely Philaemon grandis, endemic to Tasmania—as the lone piece of evidence that might help catch the men.
March 5, 2010
March 11, 2010