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DNA Evidence Links Suspect to Several Austin Burglaries

Updated: Friday, August 1 2014, 10:37 PM CDT

Stephanie Nance remembers the day someone broke into her friend's North Austin home.

"They came in through the dog door during the day," said Nance.

That was back in January of last year. The crime remained unsolved until this week.

"We knew a while ago that we had a serial burglar because we had all these profiles that had been connected in the data base," said APD Senior Forensic DNA Scientist Elizabeth Morris.

According to an arrest affidavit, a blood stain lifted from a Christmas card at Nance's rental home, matched blood stains on a soda can found at another crime scene in southeast Austin. Science identified Hadden Elms as the suspect.

"I think it's important to get those answers as quickly as possible," added Morris.

But getting those answers takes eight to ten months.

"Right now we're pulling cases that were assigned back in October and November of last year," said APD DNA Supervisor Jeff Sailus.

Sailus blamed the turn-around time on a backlog of some 700 cases. Part of the problem is a lack of staffing and funding. Plus violent crimes like murders and rapes get processed first.

"We're looking at the nucleus of the cell the DNA gives us numbers and that's basically what we're comparing," said Morris.

And Nance doesn't mind waiting when the results lead to an arrest.

"It's completely fascinating and thankfully there are people who can link these crimes together and keep our streets safer," added Nance.

Sailus hopes to add two additional analysts to help process the backlog. The Austin Police Department is also investing in new technology which could speed up the process.

Elms is charged with three counts of burglary of a residence.

By Alex Boyer

DNA Evidence Links Suspect to Several Austin Burglaries


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