Sunday, October 31, 2004

As DNA backlog clears, Ohio police get leads in 210 cases

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Authorities now have suspects in 210 unsolved crimes after state officials eliminated a backlog in Ohio's DNA computer database, the state attorney general's office said.

The backlog reached 19,000 samples while state officials waited for a federal grant before Attorney General Jim Petro used state funds in August to have the backlog eliminated.

The system lets crime labs compare digitized representations of a convict's genetic fingerprint with samples collected at crime scenes.

In Columbus, police had few leads in the killing of a 25-year-old prison guard in 1999 before the backlog was eliminated.

Authorities had a grainy photo showing a man buying a can of gasoline that police think was used to ignite Jana Marie Eyster's apartment. The photo was of such poor quality that the man was never identified.

But a match between DNA taken from an Ohio inmate and DNA found in Eyster's apartment has given police a suspect, homicide Sgt. Dana Norman said.

"It's a call I'd been waiting for 51/2 years," said Eyster's father, Darryl Eyster. "I feel so satisfied that something is going to happen. It's quite an emotional thing."

The inmate has not been charged in Eyster's death and was not a suspect until science pointed the finger at him, Norman said.

Eyster, shot in the head before her apartment was set on fire, had worked for about 10 months at the state Corrections Medical Center.

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Election 2004 section

Police seek 3 men suspected in break-in, assault
National Guard tries new ways to entice recruits
As DNA backlog clears, Ohio police get leads in 210 cases
Pregnant smokers studied
Woman shot in sister's Price Hill apt. dies
Ethical concerns focus on eye surgery
Local news briefs

Boone aims to keep road from slipping into river
Family that kickboxes together stays together
Property value, tax soar
Pa. firm to design bridge linking Louisville, Indiana
Private prison not fined over violations, paper says
Northern Kentucky news briefs

Schools hope to keep gains while cutting staff
Staff-trimming always painful
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Loveland rolls back property tax 1 mill
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