The Army's crime lab, already beleaguered by multiple internal investigations, has something new to explain: missing evidence.
Examiners misplaced evidence in a possible suicide investigation and an assault case. One of the analysts didn't notify his superiors for months that a handwriting sample he was supposed to examine had been missing, a miscue that delayed an investigation into the matter until recently.
Meanwhile, two former senior employees of the lab's high-profile forensics testing in Afghanistan have accused their bosses of firing them in August in retaliation for complaining about mismanagement.
Their lawsuits are the latest in a growing list of employee complaints about the lab. In less than four years, at least seven internal investigations have been launched and eight complaints filed against managers. Employees say the turmoil has distracted them from their mission of analyzing evidence.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, near Atlanta, is the military's most important forensics facility, handling more than 3,000 criminal cases a year. Now the lab is trying to determine how evidence that was supposed to have been tested was lost.