Why M-Vac


On September 27, 2011, Uta Von Schwedler was found deceased inside her Uta von Schwedlerhouse.  She was in her bathtub in cold water. The scene had been staged to look like a suicide, but there were inconsistencies, such as signs of a struggle and bloody shoe prints. Everyone who was close to Uta at the time also knew that she had just made a major discovery at work, loved her children and spending time with them, and was a very happy person. The natural suspect to look at was her husband, Dr. John Wall, who had been very bitter, retaliatory and publicly hateful towards her since their divorce in 2006. He did not have a solid alibi and he acted very strangely the day of and in the days following her death.

The investigation was active for a couple of months, but then stalled for about a year, at which time the M-Vac™ was used.  The M-Vac™ was initially used on a bloody pillow.  The resultant DNA profile matched her ex-husband and was one of two deciding factors in filing the case.

After filing, additional collections were done on a comforter in an area that also had a bloody handprint.  That area also yielded all of Dr. John Wall's alleles. He was tried and convicted of murder in March 2013. Using the M-Vac™ System was a big factor in his conviction and in providing closure for Uta's family.

Dr. Wall appealed. One of the points of the appeal had to do with the DNA evidence and whether it should have been admitted. The M-Vac was briefly discussed and described in the official Opinion written by the Appellate Judge. Its processes were not the focus of the point of appeal. The M-Vac and its processes were accepted as normal and effective technology in both the original trial and the appeal. The original conviction was upheld by the Utah Court of Appeals in December 2019.

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Additional Reading:

Below is a short video of the lead homicide detective discussing some of the details of the case (2 min 41 sec).