DNA Evidence Between 2004 Murder and OWS Stunt? Not So Fast
The NYPD made a rather startling announcement last night. They indicated that DNA evidence gathered at the crime scene for the 2004 murder of Sarah Fox matches DNA found on a chain used by OWS pranksters in a March 2012 stunt to lock open gates for subway stations so that commuters could go through for free.
On its face, there were a couple of possibilities for how this happened. The same person that murdered Fox could have been among those providing the chains used to chain open the subway entrance or could have been among those who actually chained it open. It could be a transit worker or someone else entirely - such as someone who came into contact with the chains as they walked through.
One option I hadn’t considered? A lab screwup.
Well, that appears to be precisely what happened.
The DNA that investigators initially believed was recovered from skin cells on the slain woman’s portable compact disc player and from the chain found after the March protest came from a laboratory supervisor at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the person briefed on the matter said.
‘The O.C.M.E. tainted the samples and it was the O.C.M.E. supervisor’s whose DNA was on both,’ the person said.
But Ellen S. Borakove, a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner’s Office, said, ‘We’ve excluded all medical examiner personnel.’ She added that the office was still working on the test.
The Medical Examiner’s Office maintains a database of employees’ DNA for the purpose of eliminating such errors.