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Sheriff: Attorney General, Legislators Need To Solve Crime Lab Backlog

5:53 PM, Oct 31, 2012   |    comments
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Wentworth, NC -- This weekend will mark nine months since someone killed Troy and LaDonna French. For eight of those months, investigators had to wait on the State Crime Lab for DNA test results.

Fortunately, the sheriff thinks the suspect who matches the DNA found inside the French house is still in the area. But he says eight months is a long time for analysis with a killer on the loose.

"Not only is it frustrating for the investigators, but think about the family," Page said. "Think about the families you're trying to bring closure to their cases -- and you can't do that because you're waiting."

The SBI says it's working as quickly as it can to process evidence for thousands of cases. There are three labs across the state, but only the one in Raleigh can process DNA. Simply put, there's too much evidence to test and not enough testers to do it, because of the budget.

A spokeswoman says Attorney General Roy Cooper asked the state legislature for $1.2 million this past session for a DNA processing lab in Greensboro. Legislators didn't provide the money.

Even the SBI director, Greg McLeod, has had enough. In a statement Wednesday, he said, "Like other law enforcement agencies in North Carolina, we're frustrated by the lack of resources for the State Crime Lab."

Sheriff Page says the people in charge have to figure something out.

"This year, I would hope that the attorney general can meet with the legislature and have some discussions," Page said, "some good discussions about what can we do to help our situation with our state lab."

Cooper's spokeswoman says he plans to push for more funding again next legislative session. You can, too, by contacting your state lawmaker.

When it comes to the French case, the SBI says it put a rush on the analysis at Sheriff Page's request. As of Wednesday, it has processed more than 100 pieces of evidence -- and is still getting more.


WFMY News 2

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