Illinois has begun comparing DNA taken from homicide victims to DNA collected from the scenes of unsolved crimes in an attempt to link the deceased to those cases, but the launch of the new initiative has been plagued by problems, reports the Chicago Tribune. A 2008 state law requires that the Illinois State Police crime lab conduct such genetic searches of all homicide victims — typically more than 700 a year.
Research shows some victims of crimes are likely to have committed crimes themselves. The goal of the legislation was to unlock any secrets the corpses may hold. A Tribune review found that since the law took effect, the crime lab has uploaded DNA from only 59 homicide victims into its criminal databases. None of those samples has been linked to unsolved crimes. Cook County Chief Medical Examiner Nancy Lynne Jones, whose office has conducted autopsies on nearly 550 homicide victims this year, has not submitted any DNA samples to the crime lab as required by law. Jones provides the samples to police departments and was under the erroneous impression that it was their responsibility to submit the samples to the lab.