WEBER COUNTY MISSING PERSON IDENTIFIED WITH RAPID DNA ANALYSIS
OGDEN — The identity of a Weber County man has been confirmed through Rapid DNA Analysis from remains discovered 10 months after he was reported missing by his family.
On March 17, 2019 hikers at the Ogden Nature Center reported bones they had discovered on the mountainside. The bones were found to belong to a human adult.
Rapid DNA Analysis of samples obtained from the bone confirmed the identity as 29-year-old Mark Myres of Ogden, who had been missing since May 4, 2018. The cause of death is unknown.
“The Weber County Sheriff’s Department and the AG’s Office are pleased that the use of the Rapid DNA technology is able to provide answers to Mr. Myres’ family,” said Special Agent Nate Mutter. “We’d like to express our condolences for their loss.”
Rapid DNA testing was first used by the Utah Attorney General’s Office in 2018. About the size of a printer, this technology allows law enforcement to analyze evidence on the crime scene and deliver results within a couple of hours. This timing is significantly shorter than the typical turnaround time often needed for DNA analysis.
Since its integration into the Attorney General’s Office, Rapid DNA has helped solve a myriad of cases.
Dozens of cases – big and small – have been solved in the last several months thanks to Rapid DNA, a new technology that allows law enforcement to analyze evidence on the crime scene and deliver results within a couple of hours.
Used by law enforcement agencies across the state, special agents with the Utah Attorney General’s office have found the technology to be effective and efficient at linking DNA to crimes. In addition, the whole process is faster and cheaper than using private labs.
Courtesy of KUTV Channel 2
Rapid DNA technology is available to any law enforcement agency in the state at no cost to their local taxpayers. The testing is paid for by the Utah Attorney General’s office and supplemented by local grants.
It’s one more step in making our communities safer.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office was highlighted in The Washington Post for launching Rapid DNA, a new DNA testing technology that can analyze evidence samples and provide results to law enforcement in less than two hours.
Here is an excerpt of The Washington Post article where they interview Special Agent Nate Mutter, of the Utah AG’s Investigation Division:
The Utah attorney general’s office has two ANDE 6C machines, and “we’re extremely excited with the results we’ve gotten,” said Nate Mutter, the office’s assistant chief of investigations. He said many of the cases brought to him by counties around the state are gun cases in which investigators are trying to match DNA on a discarded gun with a known suspect. A burglar in Cache County, Utah, who left DNA on a soda can on Sept. 19 was identified, arrested and convicted by Oct. 17 — about the same amount of time a conventional DNA test alone would have taken.
“We’re not fishing for an unknown here,” Mutter said. “This is an investigative tool to make the link between suspects and items of evidence. Just because we can’t load the information into CODIS doesn’t mean the technology can’t be used to assist us.” He said the portability of the machines was a bonus. “You can bring it anywhere, and it still gives you lab-quality results,” Mutter said.
The article did not mention one component that the AG’s Office believes is critical in using Rapid DNA testing. In cases where there may be mixed DNA or a small sample size we have retained Sorenson Forensics, a private third-party company, to review and verify our test results. This is no different than what would happen if any state crime lab tested the same evidence. They are able to provide results in a week or less, which is still far quicker than the typical process.
Rapid DNA, a new technology available to law enforcement agencies by the Attorney General’s Office, solved its first case within weeks of its release.
Earlier this fall, Cache County Sheriff’s Office contacted the AG’s Office about using the portable Rapid DNA machines for assistance with a case.
In late September, a burglary was reported in a cabin up in Cache County. Someone had broken in through a bathroom window and had cut themselves in the process, leaving traces of blood behind. The burglary suspect also ate food and drank several cans of soda while in the cabin.
Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office were able to take several blood samples and other items to process from the crime scene. They then served a search warrant on the suspect’s home and the suspect was arrested.
After gathering the evidence, Special Agents from the AG’s Office were able to test the samples and receive results on the same day. The DNA profile of the suspect matched the DNA profiles of the samples gathered at the crime scene. When presented with the evidence of the DNA test the suspect, Albert Hernandez of Hyrum, pled guilty.
The Utah Attorney General’s office can now help Utah law enforcement agencies catch criminals faster than ever.
How? With Rapid DNA testing.
Rapid DNA testing is a new technology that allows law enforcement to analyze evidence on the crime scene and deliver results within a couple of hours. This timing is significantly shorter than the typical turnaround time often needed for DNA analysis.
The AG’s Office has been testing and analyzing the reliability of Rapid DNA for the last two months. The testing has found the new technology to be effective, efficient, and even able to test DNA from a gun.
Rapid DNA is a game changer in the fight against crime. Often, agencies have had to release suspects back into the community as they wait for the evidence they need to press charges. With Rapid DNA, those suspects are usually already in custody and give officials a greater ability to know what next steps can be taken in the pursuit of justice.
The AG’s Office currently owns and operates two Rapid DNA analyzers. This technology is available to any law enforcement agency in the state at no cost to their local taxpayers. Below is Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes to law enforcement agencies explaining the process and inviting agencies to reach out if they are in need of assistance.
To utilize Rapid DNA in your agency, please call our AG Investigations Division at 801-281-1200.