Jayann Sepich and Governor Susana Martinez on Tuesday announced that Katie's law has led to the 500th match of DNA data to a criminal case in New Mexico.
The match came as the DNA Administrative Center, located in Albuquerque, compiled their final statistics for the month of August. The Administrative Center notified Jayann Sepich of the milestone last Friday, which was also the 10th Anniversary of her daughter, Katie Sepich, being laid to rest.
"Katie said that she wanted to make a difference, and in her own way, she has," said Governor Martinez today. "It's been 10-years since she was buried, but her legacy is a system of DNA collection and matching, being adopted in states throughout the country and upheld by the United States Supreme Court, that has saved lives, helped convict rapists, murderers, and other criminals, and brought a measure of justice for victims and their families."
"Arrestee DNA is the most powerful tool we have to not only solve crimes, but prevent crimes and save lives and exonerate the innocent. This 500th match in New Mexico coming on the 10th anniversary of Katie's death is bittersweet to our family. We will always miss her, but we are so proud of her legacy".
New Mexico's DNA collection law, entitled "Katie's Law," is one of the toughest in the country and is named after Katie Sepich, a New Mexico State University student who was raped and brutally murdered in 2003. Governor Martinez prosecuted Katie's murderer, worked to pass the original version of "Katie's Law" in 2006 while serving as the District Attorney in Dona Ana County, and in 2011, she signed into law an expanded version of "Katie's Law" allowing for DNA collection from those arrested for any felony crime. The Governor submitted an amicus brief in the case of Maryland v. King, where the court ultimately supported DNA collection as a critical law enforcement tool.
DNA collection is an important law enforcement tool that helps prevent heinous crimes, improves the ability of our officers to investigate crimes, and has the capacity to exonerate the innocent.
"We should all express tremendous gratitude for the efforts of Jayann and Dave Sepich and their family. I have been awed by their incredible tenacity, courage, and determination as they have fought in every corner of the United States to enact Katie's Law to help save lives," said Governor Martinez.
Source: New Mexico Governor's Office