Local News

Private DNA Lab Assists Authorities In Hunt For Rougemont Woman's Killer

Posted February 2, 2006 10:07 a.m. EST

— Rosa Lee Crabtree's family is still waiting for answers. Someone killed the 68-year-old insider her home almost three months ago. Delayed by the State Bureau of Investigation, detectives turned to a private lab for help and got some answers.

Several Triangle law enforcement agencies are using taxpayer money to send evidence to private labs. The Durham County sheriff's office went that route and was able to eliminate possible suspects in Crabtree's murder. However, they're still waiting for help in catching her killer.

Crabtree was stabbed to death with a pair of scissors inside her Rougemont home. Shortly after her murder, investigators sent a key piece of evidence to DNA Security, a private lab in Alamance County, fearing that sending it to the state lab would take too long.

The private lab turned around the results in just a few days. The cost to the county was $2,000. It would have been free if sent to the state lab.

Other evidence collected at the scene did go to the state lab in Raleigh, but it's still waiting to be processed. Investigators can't say if any of the items could actually lead them to Crabtree's killer, but say it's hard to know something like that if you don't know what you have.

Detectives aren't pointing fingers at the SBI. They say the agency is doing the best it can with the funding it has. However, law enforcement agencies as well as district attorneys' offices say they will continue to use private labs as long as they feel it's necessary.