A man who held a toddler hostage for three days before he was killed in Sacramento County is suspected of a San Francisco killing -- but blood evidence that might have linked him to that crime wasn't tested because of a crime lab backlog.
Anthony Alvarez, 26, was suspected of stabbing a city Water Department worker to death in April, according to The San Francisco Chronicle. The attacker was wounded during a struggle and police found a three-block-long blood trail but the Chronicle says a DNA sample still hadn't been analyzed by the police lab as of Monday.
Alvarez, who also was suspected of robbery and shooting at a police officer in Concord, barricaded himself and a 16-month-old boy in a Sacramento-area apartment for 56 hours before he was killed Friday night by county sheriff's deputies.
It only takes about a week for DNA results to be obtained from blood samples, officials say. However, the San Francisco lab's backlog is so bad, it could take months for investigators to get the evidence. Blood from the city worker homicide could have been compared to a sample Alvarez provided after a 2008 drug arrest, perhaps changing the outcome of the Sacramento standoff.
At least 26 cases involving suspected homicides have been held up because of the DNA lab backlog, according to Assistant Police Chief Jeff Godown.
"We're trying to procure money to get rid of the backlog." Godown said.