Today, police and prosecutors widely rely upon DNA evidence when investigating crime scenes and pursing convictions. However, prior to DNA testing capabilities, law enforcement officials relied heavily upon witness accounts and circumstantial evidence. In cases where an individual was suspected of committing a crime and arrested, police officers also relied heavily upon information discovered during questioning and interrogation sessions.
In 1984, two half brothers, ages 19 and 15, were picked up by North Carolina police and questioned for five hours about the disappearance, rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. With no lawyer present the brothers, who were known to have mental disabilities, were rattled by the police officers and, desperate to go home, made up a story detailing the girl's rape and murder.