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DNA tests in prisons are helping solve open cases

DNA checks of Georgia prison inmates are yielding valuable evidence, a chief investigator said Thursday.

Mike Ayers, special agent in charge of the local office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, addressed the Rotary Club of Thomson, meeting at the Depot.

"We solve about eight to 12 murders a year through the use of that system," Ayers said.

Inmates must submit DNA samples before their release from prison. The state also checks inmates when they enter prison, and the system is clearing the backlog of those who are already in prison.

He said DNA tests run in conjunction with job applications also have solved crimes.

That and other advances help the GBI solve cases that have been open for years, he said. "We may not catch you today," Ayers said. "But sooner or later we're gonna get you. Technology is a wonderful thing."

Ayers said the agency conducts about 12,000 autopsies a year, helps identify human remains and provides drug tests, toxicology reports and many other services. He said the bureau has 15 region field offices and six region drug offices. The Thomson office on Washington Road north of Interstate 20 is one of only two dual-purpose offices.

He said explosives specialists deal with pipe bombs, deteriorating and dangerous dynamites, and war relics, which are still dangerous. The major theft squad investigates cases as large as cargo theft, which is in the billions of dollars, he said.

Web posted on Thursday, June 30, 2011

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