Ill. police claim nationally recognized lab botched DNA tests

The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.- Illinois state police canceled a contract with a nationally known DNA laboratory because it failed to detect the presence of semen on tests of evidence in nearly a dozen cases, officials said.

No one appears to have been freed as a result of the errors at Virginia-based Bode Technology, Doug Brown, a first deputy director with the state police, said Thursday.

"We're very angry about it, we are very disappointed," he said. "We are very lucky that our quality assurance caught this."

Illinois authorities conducted quality checks on 51 of 1,200 rape kits Bode had said contained no semen, Brown said. They discovered that 11 of the tests, or nearly 22 percent, had simply failed to detect the semen.

Springfield, Va.-based Bode does testing for at least 10 other states as well as for the Department of Justice, Brown said.

Illinois police sent a letter to Bode on Thursday canceling a three-year, $7 million contract. State Police will seek to have up to $750,000 refunded and ask Bode to pay to have all its samples retested at different labs, Brown said.

A message left Friday for Chuck Jones, a spokesman for Bode's parent company, Alpharetta, Ga.-based ChoicePoint Inc., was not immediately returned. On Thursday, Jones said the lab had not been made aware of any specific complaints.

"Bode Technology has successfully processed more than 2,000 cases for the Illinois State Police over the past year," he said.

ChoicePoint has been under fire for a security breach at its data brokering operations that let criminals gain access to its database of personal information.

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