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Police Support Use of Controversial DNA Searches

August 11, 2010

Virginia's Forensic Science Board is expected to discuss whether the state should use a controversial form of DNA searches to help catch suspects.

The board is set to take up familial DNA searches at its meeting Wednesday. The searches can identify family members of suspects who have left behind biological evidence at crime scenes.

"If we could keep someone else from being raped or murdered by using this technology, it would not be right if we do not use it," said Albemarle County Sheriff, Chip Harding.

Familial DNA searches are used regularly in California and Colorado, but other states have been slow to use them because of privacy and other concerns.

The technique led to the arrest last month of a suspect in the so-called "Grim Sleeper" killings in California.

The Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys has asked the state Department of Forensic Science to implement familial DNA searches.

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