DNA sample leads to arrest in Richmond case

A DNA sample taken two years ago leads to a match and an arrest in a Richmond break-in.

A house on Carolina Nooseneck Road was broken into in 2012.

"When we first responded, we determined the point of entry was a smashed-in slider," Richmond police Lt. John Arnold said Wednesday.

Police processed the house after getting called to the scene, gathering evidence to make an arrest, and that's when they found a splash of fresh blood on the slider, about the size of a dime.

"It's painstaking work to successfully seize and not have it compromised, blood evidence," Police Chief Elwood Johnson said.

While the crime in Richmond occurred in 2012 and police sent samples of DNA to the state Department of Health right away, it took almost two years to make a match.

"We keep that crime scene profile in the database for as long as necessary. It stays in there indefinitely. There's always new convicted offenders added to that database. So, if somebody comes in after the crime scene profile, eventually they're going to match it because we search the two against each other on a regular basis," said Robin Smith, chief of the Forensic Sciences Laboratory at the Department of Health.

That's what appears to have happened here.

On a state level, Rhode Island takes samples from all felony convictions, and right now there are 19,000 samples in the database. Nationally, more than 11 million convicted offender profiles are in the database.

"In my opinion, solving house breaks is one of the most gratifying jobs as a police officer," Arnold said.

Police arrested a Warwick man in connection with the crime. He was charged and released and will now have to fight this case in court.