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Fishers police make breakthroughs in solving old crimes through DNA testing

Fishers police makes breakthrough in solving cold cases through DNA testing

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Fishers Police Department says a DNA testing device, which the department started using last year, is bringing closure to families impacted by violence.

“I don’t think there’s anything more trying or difficult for a family at a time of need to try to figure (out) where one of their family members are, so I think it’s hugely impactful,” Fishers Police Department Chief Ed Gebhart said.

DNA technology can help police generate leads for suspects involved in various cases.

Last year, the University of Indianapolis, in conjunction with the Human Identification Center, partnered with the department to provide rapid DNA testing result interpretation to help identify victims of crimes or provide investigative direction more quickly.

“We’ve had an actual hit off of a person who had a weapon and from taking blood off the weapon we can positively upload it to our machine and give us a positive hit from that DNA from that person and we can solve other crimes spawning from that one hit,” Gebhart said.

Gebhart says thanks to the technology, they were able to work on cases with previously unidentified victims for Hamilton County, and other jurisdictions.

“In an effort to keep Hamilton County safe, we really want to get involved and solve these cases and bring closure to numerous burglaries, if we can, or people in possession of illegal firearms that have used them illegally. We’re starting to see that trend already taking place within our own city,” Gebhart said.

Gebhart says they have also helped beyond the Indiana lines. “We worked with the state of Texas to identify remains from an individual out of Nicaragua, so we’ve been able to get outside of our borders and help even across the United States.”

He says this year, the team also collected and processed 49 guns connected to crimes. That’s more progress than he ever anticipated.

“I didn’t really think we’d be in the criminal side with DNA this quick, which tells me we’re probably on the mark for about five to six years out, and I think that our timing is just right,” he said.

While the technology has already made an impact on the community, Gebhart says there’s still more work to be done.