In the final episode of the DNA season, Just Science interviews Jayann Sepich, co-founder of the non-profit organization DNA Saves, about lawfully owed arrestee DNA.
In 2003, 22-year-old Katie Sepich was raped and murdered within five blocks of her home in New Mexico. Using skin and blood found under her fingernails, investigators were able to produce a full DNA profile and uploaded it to CODIS. Her killer was identified three years later. Now, in 2019, her mother Jayann Sepich continues to advocate for lawfully owed DNA. Listen along as she discusses expanding the DNA Database and the importance of arrestee DNA collection in this episode of Just Science.
Some content in this podcast may be considered sensitive and may evoke emotional responses, or may not be appropriate for younger audiences.
This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].
Jayann Sepich’s daughter, Katie, was a twenty-two-year-old graduate student when she was brutally raped and murdered. The only evidence found was DNA, but no match resulted in the national forensic DNA database. As a result Jayann has made it her mission to advocate for the expansion of DNA evidence and databases in the United States, and internationally. Ms. Sepich has testified more than forty times before state legislative committees in the US, as well as twice before the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. To date thirty-one US states have passed legislation to mandate arrestee DNA testing. As a result of her advocacy, the United States Congress passed “The Katie Sepich Enhanced DNA Collection Act” in 2012 to help fund DNA databases.
The Sepich family established DNA Saves, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating policy makers and the public about the power of DNA databases and evidence. DNA Saves has submitted amicus briefs in four US court cases, including Maryland v King, which was heard by the United States Supreme Court, upholding the constitutionality of arrestee DNA databases.
Ms. Sepich passionately believes that through the power of DNA crimes will be solved sooner, crimes will be prevented, lives will be saved and families will be spared the pain of burying a much loved child.