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Michigan mandated inmate DNA tests leading police to suspects quicker than expected

A DNA self-collection kit.
Pelle Sten
Creative Commons
A DNA self-collection kit.

new state law that mandates inmates give DNA samples is helping police solve dozens of cold cases.

Since the mid 90s, all inmates have had to give DNA samples when they exit prisons and jails in Michigan. They could volunteer the DNA before they were released, but they didn’t have to.

“Obviously when someone refuses to give a sample, something’s up,” Michigan State Police Captain Greg Michaud said.

Last summera new law passed that forced inmates to give the DNA as soon as they were put behind bars.

Michaud (mi-SHAWD) says the DNA samples helped identify suspects in 74 cases; most of them cases that had gone cold. “With these samples we knew we we’re going to solve a few cases. We didn’t realize the magnitude of the cases we were going to solve though,” Michaud said.

The samples took from 5,000 inmates helped identify suspects in five murder cases and 23 rape cases.

Michaud says Michigan’s Department of Corrections collected DNA from 5,000 inmates in less than 11 weeks. That information led police in 40 difference agencies to suspects in five murders and twenty-three rape cases.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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