Michigan DNA labs have linked 72 cold cases — including murders, rapes and lesser crimes — to known criminals in the state’s justice system, says the Detroit News. The genetic links, found in 43 percent of the cases the Detroit Police Department forwarded to the lab under a federal grant, mark an unusually high success rate that could lead to new charges in six homicides and almost 40 sex offenses dating to 1976.
The success rate is “fantastic,” said Julie French, who oversees the state’s DNA database. “Case-to-known offender comparisons usually average out at only about 30 percent at best, and that’s considered good. “What this means is we can notify the department that definite matches have been made with known offenders. Some may even be in prison now. Where it goes from there is up to them.” The evidence comes from a federal DNA grant program that gave Detroit $370,000 in 2004 to solve old cases. The 2004 grant money is just now being disbursed for use.