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A lab worker extracts DNA from skeletal remains at the University of North Texas Health Science Center. (Photo: Courtesy of UNT)

In the aftermath of its lab’s closure, the Austin Police Department will now send a majority of its faulty DNA cases to the University of North Texas Health Science Center to determine if retesting must be done.

On Thursday, Austin City Council approved a contract to allow the center to review and analyze DNA cases that were tested by APD’s lab before it shut down in June 2016. Prior to the shutdown, the Texas Forensic Science Commission found APD’s DNA testing procedures were outdated or improper, causing already tested cases to be reanalyzed and creating a backlog.

“The University of North Texas is going to look at the data from those cases and interpret them to see if they’ve been interpreted properly,” APD Forensic Unit Commander Michael Eveleth said.

Eveleth said a group of agencies, including APD, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, the Office of Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and the Capital Area Private Defenders Service, will see if that evidence was significant or “material to prosecutions.” UNT genetics professor Bruce Budowle will then look at the DNA data and determine if each case was properly tested. If it was not, it will be sent to another lab for retesting.

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