INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Indiana State Police now say there are DNA matches as a result of a new state law requiring cheek swabs for those arrested on felony charges.
According to the Indiana Crime Lab, there were 72 DNA hits on samples collected from felony arrests across the state between January 1, 2018 and March 31, 2018.
One of the first matched DNA evidence in an unsolved rape investigation dating back to 2016. The lab did not divulge the specific county where that match occurred.
According to the numbers provided by the lab, 126 hits involved unsolved crime scene samples.
117 of the 126 involved new case profiles that matched offenders previously entered into the combined DNA Index System known as CODIS.
"We are very pleased with the results seen thus far and are confident more and more crimes will be solved with the combination of convicted and arrested persons samples being matched in the CODIS program," said Major Steve Holland, the lab division commander.
Just last week 13 Investigates went to the lab to talk about the impact of the new law including possible hits to unsolved criminal cases.
We discovered the number of DNA tests skyrocketing from 11-hundred test a month to more than 42-hundred.
At the time 13 Investigates asked specifically if there were any matches to cold cases and criminal investigations.
"I don't have specific information," said Indiana State Police Captain David Bursten. "Anecdotally they tell us but is there something. Where we're logging and keeping a 'scorecard' for a lack of a better way to put it, we don't have that level of tracking of information," he said.
But days after 13 Investigates' inquiry about the "hit" rate, Bursten provided the new data, saying "The ISP Laboratory was able to pull together some statistical information."
Here are some additional statistics provided by the Crime Lab:
Forty-four different counties have seen "hits" in the first quarter of 2018
Twenty-three states have also received "hits" from Indiana during the first quarter of the year.
This law is doing what it was designed to do – it solves crime and makes our communities safer,” wrote Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer in response to the numbers released by ISP. Meyer worked with lawmakers to craft the new law in 2017.
He released a statement about the results so far, stating, " I couldn't be happier with these results... This is just the beginning — in three months look at what has resulted — 72 hits attributed to the 9,375 felony arrest samples collected. This is just tremendous! Law enforcement now has answers in 72 cases that have heretofore gone unsolved."
Meyer noted that he specifically hoped the law would help solve open rape cases. " How fitting that the first hit the ISP received was that of a match in an unsolved rape case. I can only imagine the relief the victim in that case will feel when she gets the call that her case has been solved. Because of this law, her rapist will be taken off the streets and sent to where he belongs - prison,” wrote Meyer.
This story will be updated.