DPS: Rapid DNA testing could be key in solving violent crimes

Posted at 9:28 PM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-18 09:52:04-04

New DNA testing could solve violent crimes on the same day.

"Graduating high school, getting married, having children," said Robin Hanley.

Hanley says these are all things she'll never get to see her son do. 

"That's what happens when you do lose a child, you lose a part of you," Hanley said.

In 2007, Terrance Patterson Jr., 16-years-old at the time was gunned down in a car he was riding in near 29th Avenue and Baseline Road. 

The case is still unsolved today. 

"Definitely would like some closure to the situation but it is rough," Hanley said.

Thousands just like her mourn loved ones whose cases have gone cold. 

Law enforcement is doing all they can to bring them justice may soon have a new tool. 

"Rapid DNA is more and more coming on the scene," said Arizona Department of Public Safety Crime Lab Superintendent Vince Figarelli.

FAQ on Combined DNA Index System and National DNA Index System

Figarelli says just on the horizon; a new crime-fighting technology will hopefully land the bad guys behind bars faster than ever. 

"Rapid DNA, that's an instrument that basically takes three of the instruments that we use in the lab and wraps them into one," Figarelli said.

So what used to take weeks to process a full DNA profile, will now take just 90 minutes. 

"The FBI now has Rapid DNA instruments that are going to be used in booking stations, and probably the next step is an expansion of rapid DNA for crime scene samples," Figarelli said.

And once that happens, finding those responsible for violent crimes will never look the same. 

"I predict in five to ten years you're going to see more and more cases solved either the day that a crime occurs or shortly after," Figarelli said.

National DNA Index System statistics

Hopefully bringing swift justice to those who seek it. 

"To our family, it's important, extremely important," Hanley said.

If you have any information in the case of Terrance Patterson Jr, you're asked to contact Silent Witness