Public donations to the Oregon State Police crime lab have enabled authorities to crack more than half a dozen unsolved crimes using DNA samples, reports The Oregonian. Over the last nine months, state police have received more than $14,000, said Brian Ostrom, supervisor of the state police DNA unit. The money is spent on processing DNA samples collected from known criminals or those suspected of a crime, and matching them against evidence collected from unsolved cases. The cost is $30 a sample. Last month, the lab found that eight cases came up with “hits” to unsolved Oregon crimes, including a cold homicide case and a rape case.
“What’s pretty incredible is that all this money came from private donations,” Ostrom said. People began sending money last year after S. Renee Mitchell, a columnist for The Oregonian, wrote a column about a local public television show co-host who held a fundraiser for the lab. KC Cowan, who also serves as producer of the KOPB show “Oregon Art Beat,” charged friends $30 each to attend a dinner at her home. The money was handed over to state police officials who were able process more DNA samples.