MIDDLESBORO, Tenn. (WATE) — The DNA analysis needed in the case of a 17-month-old’s death may take longer than what the general public would expect, according to the Middlesboro Police Department.

The police department issued an update on the case on Wednesday, saying the case hinges on DNA analysis, which is often a lengthy process.

Lt./Det. Barry Cowan said the Middlesboro Police Department frequently utilizes DNA evidence during investigations, and the analysis typically takes about a year to complete. According to police, however, the complexity of the case and the number of items submitted may mean the case will take longer than what the public might expect.

Cowan explained that the forensic lab reassured the department that the case has taken priority over lesser cases and is being expedited.


“We want justice for [the child], and we do not want to jeopardize the case with a premature arrest. We thank the public for their continued support and patience in this matter,” said Cowan.

He added that the police department is optimistic that everyone involved will be arrested.

The 17-month-old was taken to the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital on July 28 with signs of physical and sexual abuse, according to the Bell County Commonwealth Attorney. The child later died due to the severity of her injuries.