Il. Changes DNA Report Language After Mixup


Illinois changed the way it discloses DNA laboratory results to police agencies because of a mixup reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. Misleading DNA information from the State Police crime lab led Chicago detectives to the wrong suspect in an investigation of a string of burglaries on the North Side. When detectives submitted a sample of DNA found at one crime scene, they were informed of a “hit” between blood recovered at the scene and the genetic profile of a woman named Diane Myers. Myers had submitted a DNA sample when she was paroled from state prison on a drug conviction, and her genetic profile was in a statewide DNA database.

Because Myers had a solid alibi for the date of the burglary–she was in prison — she convinced detectives she wasn’t the person who slipped into the Chicago apartment Dec. 12, 2002. Puzzled detectives asked the state, which said the “hit” was only a “partial match” between the blood evidence and Myers. The “hit” should have been considered only as an “investigative lead,” Chicago police were told. “If the state lab is telling us we have a hit, that word is very powerful and causes us to take immediate action to investigate further,” Chicago Police spokesman Dave Bayless said. “If they now say there is an ‘association’ here, and it is just an investigative lead, that is less powerful. We would like to be communicating with them a little more clearly about this.”


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