DNA Law

GUIDELINES FOR THE COLLECTION/SUBMISSION OF DNA SAMPLES FROM DECEASED VICTIMS

Public Act 050-0500 (effective January 1, 2008) and Public Act 050-0484, (effective June 1, 2008), require a coroner or medical examiner to collect DNA samples from deceased victims under specific circumstances.  Details on these public acts can be found at http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts.

The following guidelines should be used when determining what type of DNA sample to collect from deceased individuals and how to properly preserve the sample prior to submission to the local Illinois State Police (ISP) forensic science laboratory for analysis.

In order of ISP preference:

  1. Blood and buccal standards. ISP requests both types of samples, if available, for thoroughness. If information about possible blood transfusions is unknown, it is possible that the blood standard could be a mixture. As long as the inner cheek tissue is still pink/fresh looking, a buccal standard should also be collected as an additional standard in the event of a mixture or other question. If the cheek tissue is putrid, then only collect a blood standard. The blood standard should be collected on a filter paper blood card. Buccal samples should be collected on ordinary sterile cotton swabs. Both blood and buccal samples must be dried at room temperature and packaged in paper envelopes or swab boxes (do not use plastic). Prior to submission to the laboratory, these standards can be maintained at room temperature if collected and packages as described above.
  2. If no blood or buccal standard is available, then collect a portion of the psoas muscle (if it still appears fresh). This type of sample should be packaged in sterile cup (do not add liquid) and submitted in a frozen condition.
  3. If the psoas muscle is not available, then collect a portion of another deep tissue muscle (if it still appears fresh). This type of sample should be packaged in a sterile cup (do not add liquid) and submitted in a frozen condition.
  4. If no muscle remains, then collect approximately six (6) inches of rib bone. This type of sample should be packed in a sterile container or plastic bag (do not add liquid to bone samples) and submitted in a frozen condition.
  5. If no rib bone is available, then collect approximately six (6) inches of femur. This type of sample should be packaged in a sterile container or plastic bag (do not add liquid to bone samples) and submitted in a frozen condition.

Please feel free to contact the local ISP forensic science laboratory for more information of if there are any questions on collecting standards in a particular case.