Raise your hand if you're a Bigfoot-junkie. Many of us are junkies, but for those who haven't been following the Sierra Kills story and Dr. Melba Ketchum's Bigfoot DNA study, here's a brief rundown:
- Justin Smeja allegedly shot two Bigfoots in the Sierras.
- Justin was first contacted by Ken Walker, Derek Randles and other prominent Bigfooters about the shooting.
- Justin went back to "Kill Site" to retrieve remains (if there was any left).
- Justin sent samples to Dr. Melba Ketchum's study and other labs for DNA analysis.
- Bart Cutino and Tyler Huggins got sample results back from Trent University, who showed "bear" as the major contributor of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
- Ketchum maintains Justin's piece is from a "Bigfoot", not bear.
- At an event in OKC, David Paulides (Ketchum's boss) got defensive when asked about Justin's bear sample being in Ketchum's study. Paulides responded to a post by Bigfoot Evidence contributor, Tammy Murray, in his blog: "There were three specimens where an entire genome was extracted. One of the three was obtained by an individual that stated he killed a bigfoot. Dr. Ketchum still has a sizeable portion of the specimen left and will (if needed) allow a lab to conduct secondary testing on it to affirm the results obtained by that initial independent lab. There was another specimen sent by friends of this individual to another lab where the results revealed it was a bear. That “friend” that sent the sample is a member of a group that has routinely attacked and slandered NABS many times in the past. I’ve seen photos of each sample, they look entirely different. The proof is in the DNA, period."
Now that the summary is out of the way, let's get to the meat of the matter. On The Bigfoot Forums yesterday, Bart Cutino posted a challenge to David Paulides. He asks Paulides if he's willing test the samples that Justin originally sent to Ketchum with a different lab-- a third-party lab. So, why is Cutino asking this? Here's why. Cutino writes:
I hereby challenge David Paulides to put his money where his mouth is regarding Ketchum being willing to test the rest of her sample with a third party as I'd say under the circumstances, excuses and inconsistent claims-responses (is it the tissue or the testing?) it's very "warranted."It's at least warranted enough for them to be concerned where I believe they shouldn't be if Dr. Ketchum's testing on this particular sample was as successful as she's claimed and made others believe.
As I said, Tyler tried to arrange this with her in a cooperative manner prior to releasing the Trent results and after initially agreeing, she backed out piling on excuse after excuse. As I stated, it was Tyler's call as I personally think he was willing to drop the bar too low, but we were even willing to delay if she would show us 4,5,6 of the purported PHD's who specifically worked on the Sierras tissue (her proprietary methods or any other sample is none of our business) and we'd pick one, she'd contact them and Tyler would then get a brief consultation by this person with confirmation. In lieu of new developments, we would've delayed sharing our labs findings... at least temporarily.
Maybe Paulides is unaware of this, but he shouldn't be speaking definitively publicly for her and what she would agree to if this is the case.
I would love nothing more to be proven wrong as I think that would make life easier for everybody.
Cutino left the following additional comments in the forum:
David is either lying or speaking out of ignorance (I’d like to think it’s the latter) as Dr. Ketchum was given the opportunity (was her idea initially) to test the rest of her sample from Justin with a third-party lab and after initially agreeing with us on this prior to releasing our Trent report, she came up with every evasive tactic and excuse in the book to avoid it. Eventually claiming that additional party testing “wasn’t needed.” We have this all documented via email.
David is being unnecessarily dramatic here and using my longtime affiliation with the BFRO as a smokescreen attempt as no one in the BFRO is slandering or talking about Paulides, and if they were…let’s say for argument’s sake….what would that have to do with the results our labs got or us undertaking independent testing as Paulides has nothing to do with anything regarding the Sierras incident other than him blindly and unnecessarily defending Ketchum here? She doesn’t need to be defended at this point as no one is attacking her…she made the claim (Sierras tissue was one of three genomes) and there happens to be a conflict in results that she will either have to circumvent through her own testing ….or…she’ll eventually have to answer for.
Very predictable as really when you think about it, and no surprise to Tyler and I, perpetuating the ridiculous suggestion Justin would sabotage himself and switch samples is the only perceptive escape hatch they have at this point. So essentially, they want and need you to believe that Justin (and Jack) are telling the truth about the shootings (remember if they were hoaxers than absolutely Melba’s a fraud as "grossly incompetent" would stretch credulity beyond imagination) but at the same time they need you to believe (based on our labs results which conflict with her claim) that Justin is an unethical and terrible person that would murder forest people than switch samples to cover his own butt.
Since Paulides, who has never met Justin and didn’t know a thing about him other than what Ketchum has told him and what I tried to tell him recently when we had a personal phone conversation, brought all this up publicly, let’s explore some facts so people can decide what’s really rational here.
First off, Justin has "never" expressed fear of prosecution to anyone, under any circumstance and the only persons perpetuating that claim (Paulides, Ketchum) ironically have two identical parallels, one is a defensive motive because of a vested interest that will conflict with what they’ve claimed or believe, and two, they either have never met or conversed with Justin or talked to him only once very briefly. I would challenge anyone who’s talked to Justin about this for more than 10 minutes to quote him about having any fear whatsoever of prosecution. Isn’t it also convenient that the accusation is rationalized to further perpetuate the supposed “human” element claimed within the DNA, which to my knowledge, as of today, has not been substantiated other than promises and or word of mouth. It’s this supposed “human” element in the mtDNA that would supposedly cause the fear incentive in Justin to do such a thing and cover himself according to them.
If this is the case, then why would Justin be willing to initiate contact with the CA Department of Fish & Game (which he did from my vehicle in December of 2011) with the intention of giving them a full report of the shootings by requesting a second “formal” interview in their office (after they visited his house unannounced for an “informal” interview) as long as I was in there with him? They returned his call almost 48 hrs later and declined due to lack of interest.
On one end it's insinuated by her and her people that Justin switched samples (first stated by her to Tyler when she learned of our results), on another end, many are contending it's the sophisticated and cutting edge “next-generation sequencing”’ testing that the two reputable labs we used didn’t employ and according to her supporters, surely would’ve been needed to identify the presence of a generic mammal as a primary contributor. So which of the two is it? It can’t be both.
In addition, let’s look at the viability of switching pieces and “he took a fresh piece directly off the body” claim Ketchum made to Tyler when she called to request our results prior to our releasing the Trent report. Her claim was that the tissue she received was fresh, a healthy whitish color and even had postules. Just so everyone here understands with respect to the timeline, for this crazy suggestion to be true that she’s claiming “after” learning of our results, here’s the only possibilities (actually thought out) and you tell me if one of these is rational to you:
Before doing so however, please note the general timeline and notes because they are 100% accurate-
10/8/10 -purported shootings happen
Early November 2010- Justin talks with both Derek and Tyler separately after being put in touch through Ken Walker from Taxidermy forum
11/12/10- Justin and Jack make trip back to site and are unsuccessful in locating body of juvenile in snow but claim to recover hide-like tissue with help of bloodhound that they suspect by both circumstances and general location is related to adult subject shot on 10/8/10. Although we need to still check that particular GPS unit’s capability (Justin no longer has unit) if you cannot merely punch in exact site coordinates in the manner you see in the photo they took (wisely requested by Derek as proof they went back) than we have evidence they were back at site that day as claimed as the photo has a time-date stamp. In addition, several photos were taken of recovered tissue later in the same day back at Justin’s house….hence had the tissue been say, a frozen piece of bear in their freezer (doesn’t make sense for them to have bear hide w hair frozen as I stated prior, because they immediately dress and eat bears), both guys would’ve had to have the presence of mind to defrost the tissue before departing for the 2 ½ hr drive to the site to take GPS pic, then have the presence of mind to take subsequent pics of tissue defrosted back home later in the same day after the 2 ½ drive back so they would be stamped.
Mid-November 2010- Ketchum is sent a piece of that tissue for processing. The piece is about two thirds of a piece taken off the primary tissue (picture you’ve seen posted by Lindsay). The other 1/3 or so of that tissue piece is “salted” and given to my friend Wally Hersom (who never hinted at initiating testing of it) and was examined by Meldrum on site in July of 2011 and was also tested at my contracted Midwest lab facility (awaiting final report) and came back as “ample” black bear with Justin’s genomic DNA consistent with an amount expected for physical handling (which he did with bear hands). There’s actually a photograph of this tissue that’s different than the one you’ve seen from Lindsay of the primary piece because this particular piece as already been taken off and appeared much lighter in color. Justin is actually holding the piece in the picture and Melba had requested prior that it not be shared publicly.
Now, for them to have taken a fresh piece (as Ketchum claims) off the body to send to Dr. Ketchum, they would’ve either had to take the body, dead or alive (the adult btw because of color match) back home to Sacramento on Oct 8th 2010 and kept it handy so 5 weeks later and ....without ever knowing there’s was going to be a request for skeletal remains, tissue or testing, they would’ve just cut a piece off and send it right in….well actually, Justin’s wife LOL, would’ve had to cut the piece off (she was the one who sent in the tissue to Ketchum per Justin’s instruction as he wasn’t home and he was trying to get it out asap). Oh and BTW, instead of just telling Derek or Tyler, “hey guys, just your luck, how about we just cut a nice steak off this body as it’s right here,” they would’ve had to lie and go through the trouble and gas money to go back to the site and spend all day there. A place that Justin initially refused to go back until he was coerced into doing so with potential incentive.
In addition, if Justin made the switch on tissue out of fear of prosecution as Paulides ignorantly claims, he would’ve had to have done it with the salted piece (the piece I had tested) to Wally way, way back in late 2010, over a year prior to Melba’s phone call (you’ll hear all about soon and took place just over a year ago) to Justin which created the mistrust and impetus to independently vet the sample he collected asap.
And one more thing, Justin didn’t know until six months ago that I was also having the “salted” piece tested…. because I didn’t know either. I came up with the idea to cover all loose ends and make sure the salted tissue came from the same subject species as the frozen tissue.
In addition consider the following and ask yourselves these questions and the rationale behind them:
If Justin was so scared of prosecution, why not just say (rather true or not) we hoaxed the event at this point and walk away (that simple)?
Justin thinks she’s “potentially” a fraud, yet he wishes to god she’d be right and wishes there was some way there was a mix-up in tissue pieces, but he’s certain there’s no possibility. Before that phone call he was promised the tissue they collected was from a bigfoot and to be patient, so what would compel him to take that risk and pursue independent testing?
If he has fear, why would he sabotage himself by perception and completely integrate himself further into the bigfoot community (I’m not his only friend, he’s friend’s with dozens of people) and make bigfoot research a bigger priority now in the last year and a half then his true life passion, “hunting?”
Why would he do everything he can to prove his case after the fact including taking a polygraph (he always believed actually work) that I explained to him had high risk and very little upside? If he knew the tissue he had was merely a piece of bear, why do everything imaginable to protect it and carefully process it (over 25 pieces in separate mini frozen containers) including having some of us hold “emergency” pieces and have frozen pieces stashed in separate locations?
Why would Justin pursue the Dep of F&G and get his story on record?
I can go on and on but you get the point…..the guy is not concerned with being retroactively prosecuted for killing a species that has zero legislative protection or recognition for that matter.
Paulides has no idea what he’s talking about.