While DNA has been an element in crime investigations since the 1980's, it's a recent expansion of crime lab facilities by the Ohio Attorney General's office that's made it more readily available in Washington County.
"Before, BCI London was the only one running," says Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Larry Mincks. "And we were backlogged. When you sent in a certain DNA sample, it took a long time because so many people wanted it. But the Attorney General recognized this; they have more labs and can catch up with the backlog."
And in this area, there's a lot to catch up on. Even if there's a conviction in the Ronda Manley murder case, several other Washington County murders since the 1980's remain under investigation.
One reason local authorities are so excited about DNA, is that it can provide a match with something as simple as a hand on a door handle.
"We have taken swabs," Mincks says, "And have conclusively said that person touched the door handle. And if you have a blood splatter, DNA is really easy to trace. But it's a new and exciting tool we're going to have at our disposal."
And there are new developments in one of those unsolved cases.
A search is under way for former Washington County resident Randy Joe Slider
On Friday, Slider, who is out of prison on parole, kidnapped a woman in Clermont County in Southwest Ohio.
He is the last person to be seen with Patsy Sparks, who was murdered nearly 10 years ago.
Her remains were later found in Noble County.
Slider is 40-years-old, 5’6” weighing about 170 pounds, with brown hair and eyes.
Authorities say Slider is a threat to the public and should not be approached.
If you see him or have any information about his whereabouts, call the Washington County Sheriff's Department at (740) 373-2833.
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