The DNA Database Department manages the COmbined DNA Index System (CODIS) which is a nationwide database containing the DNA profiles of criminal offenders, crime scene evidence, missing persons and their relatives. South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is the state repository for offender (both convicted offender and arrestee) DNA specimens required per S.C. Code Ann. § 23-3-620.
Profiles developed from these samples are for databasing purposes only. A direct comparison cannot be performed between profiles developed from these samples and evidence profiles. If direct comparison is needed, a standard with a proper chain of custody and collected using appropriate legal authority should be obtained and submitted to the laboratory that will be performing the DNA analysis on the evidence to which comparison is requested.
DNA sample collection of qualifying offenders is a responsibility shared by multiple agencies. Once collected, database samples must be submitted to SLED. Upon receipt, the DNA samples are processed and analyzed. The results of these analyses are entered into the CODIS database. The offender profiles are searched against other profiles in the CODIS database with the intent to provide investigative leads to unresolved cases.
In the event of a hit, or match between crime scene evidence and a qualifying offender sample, the results will be reported to the agency that submitted the crime scene sample. This provides an investigative lead for the agency and, depending on the probative value of the evidence, can provide probable cause for an arrest. If an offender is arrested for a crime based on a CODIS hit, another known standard must be collected from that individual with a documented chain of custody for court purposes. This standard is then examined by the crime laboratory that analyzed the crime scene evidence. The crime laboratory will issue a DNA report including the results of the comparison and statistics.
Samples from qualifying offenders are not considered evidence and are not treated as evidence. SLED will retain qualifying offender samples indefinitely to aid both future and past investigations. This also provides the ability to reanalyze samples as new technologies are developed.
CODIS searches can also result in a forensic hit, where the DNA profile developed from evidence in one case hits against the DNA profile developed from evidence in another case. This provides an investigative lead that enables multiple jurisdictions to coordinate their investigation efforts.
DNA technology can also be used as an aid to locate missing persons and identify human remains. DNA profiles of unidentified persons are compared to DNA profiles contained within the State DNA Database, including biological relatives of missing persons. Unidentified person refers to the recovered deceased (including body parts) or an individual who is unidentified (individuals who can’t or refuse to identify themselves).
For Missing Persons cases, items used exclusively by the missing person (i.e. toothbrush, razor) and known standards from biological relatives of the missing person should be submitted for inclusion in CODIS. First degree relatives are preferred (parents, siblings, offspring), but further removed relatives are acceptable. A consent form must be signed by each relative who submits a known standard. This form is available from the DNA Database or DNA Casework Department. The profiles from relatives of missing persons are only searched against unidentified persons and are not searched against crime scene evidence.
STR, Y-STR and mitochondrial DNA analysis will be performed as appropriate. Standards collected from relatives of missing persons may be outsourced to a CODIS participating laboratory for STR, Y-STR and/or mitochondrial DNA analysis.
Offender DNA records are subject to expungement from the State DNA Database if appropriate documentation is received from the Solicitor’s Office with jurisdiction over the qualifying DNA offense and the offender meets the eligibility requirements as described in S.C. Code Ann. § 23-3-660.