New Austin DNA lab chief will tackle 4,000 cases with contamination concerns

FILE - Blood samples being tested at APD's DNA lab. (KXAN File Photo)
FILE - Blood samples being tested at APD's DNA lab. (KXAN File Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — There is a new person in charge of the Austin police DNA lab with a lot on his plate after widespread issues were reported with thousands of cases.

Scott Milne is now the Chief Forensics Officer. The department’s lab shut down over the summer after a investigation revealed thousands of cases that used flawed science calculating odds in DNA results.

A Texas Forensic Science Commission audit called into question the credibility of the DNA results from close to 4,000 cases. They said while most labs adjusted and updated their protocols to correct the problem, the Austin DNA lab had bigger issues. The issues included analysts using scientifically invalid methods and contamination worries.

The concern has prompted the Travis County District Attorney’s office to begin the process of notifying defendants in approximately 3,600 cases that the DNA results that may have played a part in their prosecution could have possibly been overstated.

The new interim head of the Austin Police Department, Brian Manley, said he wants to lab to reopen next year.

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