The LODIS database is quickly becoming an important forensic tool for Branford Police detectives, with the system recently delivering three more positive matches of suspects' DNA samples.
The new matches or "HITs" — one of which led to the issuance of an arrest warrant — involves investigations into a recent home burglary, road rage incident and the theft of cash from a local restaurant.
The results for all three positive IDs were returned to the department on Sept. 17, according to an Oct. 9 memo from Branford Police Det. William DeGoursey, which provided an update on the database program.
DeGoursey reports the incidents involved in the department's three most recent positive DNA matches via LODIS are as follows:
July 10 - A burglary of a camp trailer behind a residence on Main Street. The suspect's blood found at the point of entry at the scene was swabbed by an officer. DeGoursey said the sample "hit to a reference sample already in the database." An arrest warrant is pending in the case.
July 23 - A road rage incident on Cedar Street. DeGoursey reported a suspect "threw a lit cigarette into another car and yelled profanities." Officers investigated. Although the suspect initially denied the claims they later admited their involvement. The cigarette, along with a voluntary DNA swap from the suspect, were sent to the lab. And the LODIS HIT will now be used by prosecutors for their case.
Aug. 7 - A burglary to a Maple Street restaurant. DeGoursey said a suspect was located in "close proximity" to the scene of the crime. "There was blood on the cash register at the scene and the suspect had a fresh cut to his hand that he could not explain," he said. The suspect was an employee of the restaurant and adamantly denied involvement. The suspect was arrested at the scene. DeGoursey said the HIT will be "used as leverage for the prosecutor to obtain a guilty plea."
"The strength of these three hits is similar to that of our first hit," DeGoursey noted in his report.
Database Continues to Grow
The use of the local DNA database, the first of its kind in the state, was approved by the police commission last fall.
The department had their first positive match through the database in August. The case involved an automobile break-in that happened in April.
DeGoursey reports that currently there are 100 reference and 100 evidence samples in the database.
In addition, there are also 25 reference and 25 evidence samples that have been sent out to the lab the department uses for its LODIS system.
"We will have their results in about two to three weeks," DeGoursey stated in his report.
New Haven Samples
The detective added that two evidence samples from the New Haven Police Department were sent with Branford's most recent submission to the lab.
"The were taken from a shotgun used in a liquor store robbery along with one suspect sample," DeGoursey reported.
As the first department in the state to use LODIS, Branford is hoping other area police departments join, enriching the local database of local criminals, both convicted and suspect.
Currently, Branford can process DNA for other towns for a $110-sample fee.
However, they can only submit batches of 25 samples and do not always have the ability to send out samples for other towns.