Why is the Preservation of Wet Evidence Important?

According to the well-known nonprofit organization, The Innocence Project, 375 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 21 who served time on death row1. Those are terrifying numbers.

We see the importance of DNA preservation in cases such as Ronald Cotton from Burlington, North Carolina. Cotton was sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years until he was exonerated in 1995 based on the re-evaluation of DNA evidence. Eleven years after the crime occurred, semen found at the scene had been preserved and used for retesting. Ronald Cotton was not a match. The DNA was linked to a convict known for committing similar crimes2. If it weren’t for the proper storage of evidence, Cotton would still be serving time for another man’s crime.

Sadly, Ronald Cotton’s story is not unique. Kenneth Adams of Illinois served 18 years for a murder and rape he didn’t commit. George Allen of Missouri served 30 years. Randolph Arledge of Texas served 29 years. Malcolm Alexander of Louisiana served 38 years3. The list goes on and on, state by state. All of these men were exonerated not only because of DNA testing but because there was still DNA evidence to test in the first place.

We, like you, wish to change the narrative. Wrongful convictions are a plight to our society and infiltrate the very justice that our nation was built upon.

However, we have to start from the beginning, ensuring proper evidence preservation is done without the risk of outside contaminants comprising the integrity of the objects at hand.

Since 1959, Mystaire has been the manufacturer at the forefront of containment solutions for forensic research and manufacturing. This research has led us to a product that maintains the chain of custody and protects evidence from potential cross-contamination: Evidence Drying Cabinets.

What are Evidence Drying Cabinets?

Mystaire’s Evidence Drying Cabinets protect both the employee and the evidence through a four-stage filtration process: dual pre-filtration, HEPA filtration, and a gas-phase bonded carbon filtration.

Pre-filtration removes particulate from the incoming “drying air,” thus shielding necessary evidence from cross-contamination. The powder-coated steel doors provide the first pre-filter, which acts as tamper-resistant barriers creating a seal between the chamber and the environment. Inside the drying chamber is the second pre-filter: The Trace Evidence Filter. During the drying process, this filter traps any possible evidence that may become airborne. Before leaving the drying chamber, all drying air must pass through the trace evidence pre-filter. It’s essential that this filter is changed between each case and kept for further examination by laboratory experts.

The HEPA and bonded carbon filters protect the officer or lab personnel from harmful bacteria, viruses, and putrid odors associated with evidence drying. This process not only maintains the chain of custody but protects the evidence from potential airborne contaminants.

Types of Evidence Drying Cabinets:

At Mystaire, we provide three evidence-drying cabinets: SecureDry, ProtectAire, and FR-Series.


Benefits of the SecureDry Evidence Drying Cabinet:
1. Seamless polypropylene construction for easy cleaning between cases
2. Locking casters for added mobility
3. Two-speed blower operation - airflow is increased when the door is opened
4. Notification lights alert operator for pre-filter and main filtration changes
5. UV light option for chamber irradiation


Benefits of the ProtectAire Drying Cabinet:
1. Vapor-proof of fluorescent light with clear locking door
2. Solid thermally fused polypropylene construction
3. Built-in floor drain for connection to facility or optional waste disposal pump


Benefits of the FR-Series Drying Cabinets:
1. Powder-coated aluminum chassis with seamless fiberglass drying chamber for exceptional strength and durability
2. Stainless steel drying rod and shelves for ″wet″ evidence placement
3. Molded fiberglass chamber for ease of cleaning between cases
4. Designed to fit through standard doorways

How to Clean Between Uses

Medi-Fect™ Disinfectant Wipes

Our Medi-Fect Wipes will eliminate 99.9% of bacteria in 15 seconds and disinfects in just four minutes. They are effective against many pathogens, including HIV, Influenza Type A, MRSA, SARS-CoV-2 virus (the cause of COVID-19), and many others. These wipes sterilize hard, non-porous surfaces such as countertops.

Wavicide® High-Level Disinfectant

Because Wavicide® is a glutaraldehyde-based sterilant, it’s the only one of its kind on the market today. This disinfectant stands out from the crowd because it is not only non-corrosive, but it’s also ready to use, cost-efficient, and has a more appealing aroma than other brands. Mystaire also provides Wavicide-01 MEC Test Strips to guarantee any full strength; re-used Wavicide has a minimum of a 1.7% glutaraldehyde level.

At Mystaire, we are committed to helping your lab find success. Whether that success is today or many years from now, let us help you ensure your evidence is stored correctly.

(1) https://innocenceproject.org/exonerate
(2) https://innocenceproject.org/cases/ronald-cotton
(3) https://innocenceproject.org/all-cases