DNA Database Helping Ohio Police Get Leads in Unsolved Cases
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Authorities now have suspects in 210 unsolved crimes after state officials eliminated a backlog in Ohio's DNA computer database, the state attorney general's office said.
The backlog reached 19,000 samples while state officials waited for a federal grant before Attorney General Jim Petro used state funds in August to have the backlog eliminated.
The system lets crime labs compare digitized representations of a convict's genetic fingerprint with samples collected at crime scenes.
In Columbus, police had few leads in the killing of a 25-year-old prison guard in 1999 before the backlog was eliminated.
Authorities had a grainy photo showing a man buying a can of gasoline that police think was used to ignite Jana Marie Eyster's apartment. The photo was of such poor quality that the man was never identified.
But a match between DNA taken from an Ohio inmate and DNA found in Eyster's apartment has given police a suspect, homicide Sgt. Dana Norman said.
"It's a call I'd been waiting for 5 1/2 years," said Eyster's father, Darryl Eyster. "I feel so satisfied that something is going to happen. It's quite an emotional thing."
The inmate has not been charged in Eyster's death and was not a suspect until science pointed the finger at him, Norman said.
Columbus police learned of the link in Eyster's case on Wednesday.
Eyster, shot in the head before her apartment was set on fire, had worked for about 10 months at the state Corrections Medical Center.