Utah Cold Case Coalition announces non-profit DNA lab

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Cold Case Coalition announced the creation of a new, non-profit DNA processing laboratory in Utah Thursday.

“[The coalition] has come to realize that there is an enormous amount of evidence in cold cases throughout the country that has not been tested due to budgetary problems. The price of DNA testing at for-profit entities has gone up considerably, and, partly, that’s due to demand,” said Karra Porter, UCCC co-founder.

According to Porter, who cited figures from the Department of Justice, DNA testing costs rose by 85 percent between 2011 and 2017.

UCCC has made leasing, contracting, consulting and personnel arrangements for its DNA lab, but Porter said they need some help in purchasing the necessary equipment. They seek to raise $81,000 via a GoFundMe campaign for the purchase of some of the DNA testing equipment they need.

“When this is done, we will be fully certified and accredited, and we will be able to offer DNA services to law enforcement and families at something they can afford to do,” Porter said.

Francine Bardole, a DNA serologist who works with West Jordan Police, said a non-profit lab would be a boon to law enforcement agencies around the nation.

“There is so many cold cases throughout the nation. Just in Utah alone, there’s over 400. That includes missing persons, that includes Jane Does and that includes homicides. So there’s a lot that can be done across the nation with this type of lab to help these agencies close cases,” Bardole said. “These families need closure, and this will help bring that about.”

Porter said the lab is still a few months from opening.

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