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State Crime Lab director resigns, AG's office conducting nationwide search for replacement

The Western Crime Lab, one of three facilities that make up the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory.
The Western Crime Lab, one of three facilities that make up the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory.

North Carolina State Crime Laboratory Director Vanessa Martinucci has resigned, according to Attorney General Josh Stein's office. Stein hired Martinucci in 2019 to run the state's three crime labs, which examines evidence for a wide variety of state and local law enforcement offices for no charge.

The director of the North Carolina state crime lab has resigned, officials with the office of Attorney General Josh Stein confirmed today.

No reason was given for the resignation of Vanessa Martinucci, who was hired by Stein four years ago. She had a deep background in DNA analysis — experience touted by Stein when he hired her in 2019 as the Attorney General’s office was pushing the state to address a backlog of untested sexual assault kits.

State prosecutor and Department of Justice Criminal Bureau Chief Leslie Dismukes is currently serving as interim director of the state lab.

According to the AG’s office, a nationwide search for a replacement is underway. Asked if there are any delays expected between directors, a spokesperson said lab staff “continue to be dedicated to analyzing evidence to assist law enforcement.”

The Crime Lab operates a full-service laboratory in Raleigh, the Western Regional Crime Lab in Edneyville, and the Triad Regional Crime Lab in Greensboro. The lab examines evidence related to criminal investigations free of charge to any North Carolina public law enforcement agency, including local, state, federal, military, and railroad police organizations.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.
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