New suspects but no false arrests in DNA review so far

Feb. 11, 2014Houston Chronicle

Testing of 6,600 old rape kits and other evidence gathered in property crimes has not uncovered any false arrests, a Houston police captain told City Council Tuesday.

Capt. Jennifer Evans gave an update to the council’s Public Safety Committee, noting that to date there have been 280 “hits” on DNA from 6,170 cases processed, although many remain under review. Two private labs were hired last year at a cost of $4.4 million to screen 9,565 cases for usable evidence. Included are 6,600 untested sexual assault kits, the oldest stretching back to 1987, that had been stored in the Houston Police Departmentproperty room.

Evans would not say how many CODIS “hits” served as confirmation of persons previously arrested by the HPD, or how many led to the identification and arrest of new suspects. CODIS is a nationwide database that stores the DNA profiles of criminals.

“We do have new suspects and we do have a few arrests, I just don’t have the numbers,” Evans said.

She said that even in cases where the outside labs found no usable DNA evidence, HPD is giving all cases a second look.