Houston forensic center employee fired for shredding documents from homicide scene

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Forensic center employee fired for shredding documents from homicide scene
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Forensic center employee fired for shredding documents from homicide scene, Kevin Quinn reports.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Forensic Science Center has fired one of its employees for destroying original case notes from a homicide scene, violating the department's policy and procedure.

The center said Megan Timlin was fired Wednesday after an internal investigation.

According to the HFSC, several administrative errors were found during a standard technical review of the now-former analyst's notes from the scene. A co-worker discovered the problem and told a supervisor.

Timlin returned to the scene a few days after the incident to correct the mistakes and was instructed to keep the original notes from the day of the homicide.

Instead, the center says she shredded the documents.

"Destroying original notes is just something that forensic analysts just shouldn't do," said HFCS CEO and President, Dr. Peter Stout.

Stout says Timlin worked at the center for just over two years, most recently in the digital multimedia evidence section.

HFSC said it will redo the forensic analysis in the case. It also said the issue only pertained to this particular incident, though it plans to audit all the employee's work, which includes more than 100 cases.

The issue will also be reported to the Texas Forensic Science Commission as suspected professional misconduct. The HFSC said the Houston Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney's Office are also aware.

A spokesperson for the D.A.'s office says they will review the potential implications of Timlin's involvement on the cases she worked to determine if prosecution could be impacted.

"What families now have to hope for is that they're not one of the cases that's gonna come back under review," said City of Houston Victim's Rights Advocate Andy Kahan. "For a lot of homicide families' issues like this only add to the pain, grief and emotional agony that they've already had to by the loss of a loved one due to a homicide."

This is the latest trouble with evidence processing in Houston. You might remember the Houston Forensic Science Center was created after years of problems at the crime lab managed by Houston Police, including delays in testing thousands of rape kits.

When reached by phone for comment, Megan Timlin told Eyewitness News, "I don't have anything to say."