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Statement by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Regarding Concerns Related to Missing Ellis DNA


MADISON - The question about the missing Ellis DNA sample dates back to 2001. While I was not Attorney General then, I am now and I am greatly concerned that this sample was not in the Departments database.


At my direction, earlier this week Division of Law Enforcement Services Administrator Gary Hamblin began a review of practices of the Offender DNA Database section dating back to 2001 in search of answers. Justice Department officials have also been in contact with Wisconsin Department of Corrections officials to review DOCs practices dating back to that time to account for this missing profile.


Tackling the long neglected DNA backlog at Wisconsins Crime Lab is a top priority.  It is clear the expeditious work of the Wisconsin Crime Lab played a significant role in an arrest and charging in this matter.  


I am committed to solving an identified problem with actions based on sound recommendations. If failures dating back to 2001 are identified at the Crime Lab or anywhere else in the system that resulted in this missing profile, rest assured, changes will be made.


I have received communications from and am encouraged by the Legislatures interest in this matter. Wisconsin law enforcement appreciate their support of the Departments DNA program. I look forward to working with them to answer questions we all share.