The Texas Department of Public Safety s online criminal history search is supposed to keep convicted criminals away from daycares and out of schools.
However, a state audit completed late last year cited thousands of missing criminal records in the state's database.
The DPS online background search is used by most public school districts to run background checks on employees and on guests before they are allowed in a classroom.
Following up on a KENS 5 report from last November, the I-Team has uncovered the reason one in every four conviction records from Bexar County went missing from the state s history search. County officials sayit was caused by acomputer software change the DPS never told them about.
One of the missing records was the murder conviction of Geronimo Gutierrez.
In 1999, 20-year-old Rick Marin was abducted andshot five times before his body was burned.
Three years later, a jury found Gutierrez guilty of his murder.
Yet it took another 10 years before Gutierrez's conviction record made it into DPS s criminal history search.
Gutierrez is just one example.
In an interview in November, Skylor Hearn with DPS said: The more accurate it (DPS s criminal history search) can be benefits everyone involved that uses it and accesses it.
When asked in the interview why so many records were missing, DPS pointed the finger at the counties, blaming them for not reporting.
In the weeks after our November I-Team report aired, Bexar County District Clerk Donna Kay McKinney began digging.
She said she couldn't believe her clerks were failing to report nearly one out of every four records, as DPS claimed.
The Bexar County information technology people did some research, and they discovered that DPS had changed their program and software and had not informed us of it, so the batch information was not going through, McKinney said.
The district clerk said her office updated its computer software and then re-sent every county criminal record to the state.
Now, nearly 97 percent of all Bexar County criminal records are in the state's database.
A spokesperson for DPS said Bexar County was notified about all computer software changes in its online newsletter.
DPS also said in a recent meeting with Bexar County officials, spurred by the I-Team report, that internal coding policies at Bexar County were discovered that were not compliant with state requirements.
McKinney said the county s information technology department was made aware of the newsletter for the first time a week ago.
The lack of communication is very frustrating, McKinney said. It's a simple thing: just talk and listen.
The problem of missing records goes beyond Bexar County.
According to the state audit, many more conviction records were missing, include 24 percent from Guadalupe County, 42 percent from Atascosa County, 46 percent from Medina County and 45 percent from Comal County.
The conviction records will not show up when running a background check with the DPS website.
People have a right to know, McKinney said. Sounds corny, but they do.
As a result of the I-Team s initial report, McKinney said she decided to post all of Bexar County s criminal records on the county s website.
I just thought it's public record, she said. So I had every felony record since 1974, which is about 267,000 records, put on my website. The public can view it for free.