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DPS' DNA lab celebrates 10,000th solved case

600 murders, nearly 4,000 sexual assaults have been solved since 1998

AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Department of Public Safety is celebrating the closure of its 10,000th unsolved crime, thanks to the work of its Combined DNA Index System lab.

The lab, opened in 1998, compares DNA samples given by convicted felons to evidence collected in unsolved crimes.

To date, more than 600 murders and nearly 4,000 sexual assaults have been solved because of the lab, with burglaries, robberies, and other miscellaneous crimes rounding out the list.

"It's of high importance because we want to bring closure to that family, we want to be able to say, 'We're working for you to put these people behind bars,'" said the Department of Public Safety's Sgt. Jason Reyes.

Some 5,000 of the unsolved cases have been solved in last five years, a jump Reyes attributed to greater numbers of DNA samples being inputted into the system.

He also said the system is responsible for a growing number of exonerations -- prisoners proved innocent after DNA testing cleared them of any wrongdoing.

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