SBI reviews cold cases with new technology

Published 7:40 pm Friday, April 21, 2017

From the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation

RALEIGH – The SBI is inspecting unsolved murder case files using new technology and old warhorses to garner evidence for potential convictions.

A grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission is allowing the SBI to contract with 10 retired SBI agents and several law school students to examine cold homicide cases.

“Retesting evidence using the latest DNA or forensic technology may yield new information that could result in arrests,” said SBI’s attorney, Angel Gray, who is overseeing the cold case project. “The lack of evidence to convict a suspect is one of the most common reasons that cases remain unsolved.”

The SBI retirees, all former homicide investigators, would like to hear from local law enforcement agencies on which cases they think might have the highest rate of success. An SBI investigator is located in each of the SBI’s eight field districts.

“We are revisiting a number of these cases to determine if potential DNA or other evidence such as fingerprints may be present that was not analyzed due to technology constraints that no longer exist,” Gray said.

The SBI began looking at unsolved cases in 2015 when the Governor’s Crime Commission awarded the grant. GCC renewed the grant for 2017.

“The SBI makes every effort to solve each homicide where local law enforcement has requested assistance,” said SBI Deputy Director Greg Tart who, with his 25 years as a homicide investigator, initially wrote the grant.  “We want to bring every eligible case to a successful prosecution.”

The retirees and law students will:

  • Determine if biological evidence or other evidence may have been seized during the investigation;
  • If potential DNA evidence exists, assist in locating the evidence and drafting/preparing necessary warrants or orders for testing of the evidence;
  • Review laboratory reports comparing DNA profiles from analyzed evidence to the DNA of potential suspects in the state’s DNA database and CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) and to new DNA samples collected from potential suspects;
  • If potential fingerprint evidence exists, assist in locating the evidence and submitting the evidence for comparison in the AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System) database;
  • Develop and assist in pursuing potential leads for investigators, including possible witness interviews;
  • To otherwise assist in the prosecution of those responsible for these crimes and/or to assist in clearing previously identified suspects.

Gray encourages local law enforcement investigators to contact the SBI if they think they have a case that might be solved through this process.

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