POSTED: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 12:33pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 5:57pm
Match came on 10th Anniversary of Katie's burial
Jayann Sepich, mother of murdered NMSU student Katie Sepich, and Governor Susana Martinez announced Tuesday that Katie's Law has led to the 500th match of DNA data to a criminal case in New Mexico.
According to officials, the match came as the DNA Administrative Center, in Albuquerque, compiled their final statistics for the month of August.
Jayann Sepich was notified of the milestone last Friday, which was also the 10th Anniversary of Katie being laid to rest.
Governor Martinez said, "Katie said that she wanted to make a difference, and in her own way, she has...it's been ten 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."
Martinez also said, "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 is named after Katie Sepich, a New Mexico State University student who was raped and brutally murdered in 2003.
At that time Martinez, serving as the District Attorney for Dona Ana County, prosecuted Katie's murderer, and worked to pass the original version of "Katie's Law" in 2006
As governor in 2011, Martinez 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.
Governor Martinez added, "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."