Law enforcement explains taking DNA swabs from victims

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - State police explained why DNA swabs are sometimes taken from the victims of crimes.  That comes after a Prairieville woman was upset her husband was swabbed after his car was broken into. Authorities say taking DNA samples of victims of a crime scene can protect them.

Forensic scientist said a victim's genetic information could be all over the crime scene. 

"We need a sample from those individuals so that we can remove the profile we get from that and try to deduce what the unknown perpetrator profile is," said Joanie Brocato DNA manager at the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.

By taking the victim's DNA, police can exclude it, and try to figure out which DNA belongs to the thief. That prevents a victim's genetic information from going into a database called Codis.

"The database here in Louisiana has approximately 500,000 samples of DNA profiles that belong to arrestees, convicted offenders, and other samples of other crime scenes," said Brocato.

She said a victim's genetic information, is kept in a secure location in the lab. If a case does develop those samples can be critical pieces of evidence. She also said DNA sampling has changed how fast an investigation can go, and assures law abiding citizens they should not be afraid. 

"If we don't have those samples it will make the DNA process very complex and really hinder many of the cases that get solved very quickly," said Brocato.

Authorities say victims can elect not to give a DNA sample, it is voluntary.

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