DANVILLE, Ind. – The Danville Police Department says advancements in DNA identification are helping them solve crimes in ways they never could before.
In the past several weeks, the department has solved two crimes using trace amounts of DNA left at scenes.
In March, a routine traffic stop ended after one suspect led police on a high-speed chase down State Route 39. He crashed into a fence before fleeing on foot.
“They had dogs and drones searching for him, and we were unable to locate him," said Officer Nate Lien.
The suspect escaped through thick brush under the cover of night, but he did leave behind a tiny amount of DNA on the airbag that deployed during the crash. Car owner John Schocke was arrested four days later on unrelated charges. He denied any involvement in the crash, but DNA pointed to him.
“We were able to swab that airbag, and only one person’s DNA was on that, and that was our suspect," Lien said.
DNA also helped Danville police solve a crime that went unsolved for a year. Terry Dye, 24, was arrested for stealing three trucks. Police say he left a drink in one of the vehicles. Danville recently pulled his DNA off the straw, and they were able to make the arrest.
“They told me when it was stolen there was probably no chance of finding the criminal.” said Gen Thomas of his stolen truck. "It’s amazing what they can do with the DNA now to track suspects and everything."