DPS Lab using new technology to solve older crimes

KLBK News

New DNA technology helped to solve the eleven year old murder of Selena Kuykendall this week.  Her body was found out in the Northeastern part of Lubbock County badly beaten and stabbed.  At the time Lubbock police questioned her husband Clarence Kuykendall but weren’t able to link him to the murder until this week.  He died in 2008.

Today the Department of Public Safety gave us an inside look at the new technology they hope will solve more of these older crimes.

At today’s press conference Naomi McDonald, DNA Technical Leader at the Lubbock Lab, spoke to us about how far technology has come in the last two years. She says that it takes time for these technologies to develop, it’s just the wait for the science to catch up with what we need it to do.  In 2007, when Selena was found in the county, the DNA that they retrieved from the scene was good, and testing showed it came from a man, but that’s as far as they could get with the science at that time. 

Now experts say the technology they have is more sensitive and allows them to look more closely at DNA evidence.  McDonald explains that DNA needs to be retrieved as soon as possible otherwise it deteriorates due to sun, heat and cold.  After it’s collected and put in a stable environment, DNA can last for years.

These advancements help identify the killed in another case.  Debbi Domingo who lives in Lamesa worked tirelessly alongside law enforcement to find the man responsible for killing her mother in California decades ago.  Advancements revealed the Golden State Killer, Joseph James De-Angelo was responsible for her mother’s death.

The Lubbock crime lab has had this technology since about March of 2016.  But due to having only 15 employees that cover 76 counties, Technicians have to catch up on current cases before taking a look at older, cold cases.

McDonald tells us they all understand the frustration the public has when it takes a long time to solve a crime.  But she wants everyone to know they are working diligently to find new evidence.

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