Once renowned for his outstanding talent playing the French horn and for the contributions he made to the U.S. French horn community, Elliott Higgins has become irreversibly linked to multiple sexual assaults in recent months. The news that his pristine image was unwarranted has horrified the musical world, with implications reaching far and wide.
CeCe Moore, chief genetic genealogist at Parabon NanoLabs, noted that the case was an anomaly, particularly because Higgins’ seemingly had no connections to the areas where the crimes were committed in Alabama and Colorado between 1991 and 2004. His involvement in children’s music, camps, and competitions made it all the more unsettling.
His daughter, Amber Higgins, remarked that the reality of her father’s dual life was and continues to be a mind-boggling concept for her.
Before his passing in 2014 at the age of 73, the devoted husband and father had served as the music director of a camp his family founded, and had conducted the Albuquerque Philharmonic.
The Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office had built its case but were unable to identify the suspect due to a lack of DNA evidence, prompting them to reach out to Parabon for assistance. In just days, Moore and her team were able to link the criminal’s second cousins on either side of his family.
Though confirming one’s identity using DNA is an investigative lead at best, Moore pointed out that the effects of such cases are often far-reaching, with both victims and suspects’ families being negatively impacted. In an issued statement, the International Horn Competition of America, which Higgins founded, expressed how the discovery of his hidden activities came as a shock to all involved.
The case of Elliott Higgins highlights the importance of genetic genealogy research in criminal cases, and will undoubtedly have long-term effects on those associated with the suspect, as well as the U.S. French horn community.