As of January, 113 rape kits remained untested for Copperas Cove PD, 152 for Harker Heights PD, and 233 for Killeen PD which was the most in the Central Texas area.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety’s policy is to instruct law- enforcement agencies that use the DPS crime labs to submit sexual-assault kits for testing to regional crime laboratories in Flagstaff, Phoenix and Tucson.
She said it was only after 2013, when Kentucky State Police-which operates the forensic crime lab testing the kits-asked LMPD to send KSP every rape kit to identify potential serial rapists. “It’s not just one person”, Scheske said. “We don’t get DNA evidence back in 45 minutes or an hour”, said Commander Scott Meads with the Killeen Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation records list the number of untested rape kits held by police and sheriff’s departments as of September 2014.
The USA Today report found 829 of the 70,000 kits at the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
The City of Houston recently cleared its backlog of 6,000 untested rape kits – some had been there for 30 years.
But other agencies report dozens, even hundreds of untested kits dating back to 2000. More than $1 million has been raised.
Considering that there are about 18,000 departments nationwide, Weil and other advocates believe there are thousands of other unreported rape kits that remain untested. Madison County was listed as 12th in the state for the number of untested kits, with a total of 36. But the investigator’s notes from a third interview days later indicate “she did not remember what had happened” and that the sex was voluntary, and the case was closed.
“It doesn’t matter that they report it because nothing’s going to be done anyway”, she said.
Ten years ago Carrie was raped and stabbed by a stranger near St. Anthony Main.
“It’s your worst nightmare”, Carrie said.
Carrie’s attacker left behind a DNA profile.
Walsh of the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence said that it is absolutely crucial that all sexual assault kits be tested and entered into a database, not only for the known victims, but for the victims for whom the test data might bring justice.
Most police agencies did not participate in that survey, so it’s hard to get a grasp on how big the problem may be locally. The law required the Department of Justice, by no later than September 7, 2014, to develop and publish “a description of protocols and practices … for the accurate, timely, and effective collection and processing of DNA evidence, including protocols and practices specific to sexual assault cases”. Minneapolis has already found several kits not originally tested that now will be.
“Certainly testing all those cases would result in many more DNA specimens”, Assemblywoman Rosenthal said.
Dana Coston said there are a number of circumstances that can keep the agency from forwarding a sexual assault kit for analysis. Earlier this year, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office received a $100,000 donation from Virginia-based MOKO Social to investigate a backlog of rape cases. Tanner says the tool are available and hopes that untested kit backlogs will become a thing of the past.
“It’s giving them a voice, we’re listening to them”, said Marion Tanner, the executive director at Garth House.
At the Cape Coral Police Department, 17 of 65 kits collected have been sent to FDLE since 2009.
Rape survivors are pushing for more testing. “Then we’ll have information about why they didn’t submit kits … and we can get a grip on how many still need to be analyzed”. Some other kits aren’t tested if a victim recants or if prosecutors decide not to pursue charges.
“A lot of the assailants were known, so to the investigators, this wasn’t a mystery”, he said.
“The actual existence of the suspect’s DNA may not be a question”, said Commander Brian Podany with the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.
We will report on those cases as they come to light.
This discovery spurred community outrage and led Memphis Mayor A C Wharton to hire former U.S. Attorney Veronica Coleman-Davis to help review policies and procedures dealing with sexual assault kits and to form a Sexual Assault Kit Task Force.
How much additional testing should be done – and how to pay for it – likely will be an issue for the Minnesota legislature in 2016. Steve Holland, who oversees ISP’s four forensic labs, said that’s not a problem in Indiana.
But what if the rape report is false?
“We just want to be on the forefront in Indiana”, he added.
“We’re the assisting agency”, Holt said.
Carrie Fringer says the exam can be invasive and traumatizing. She’s also a rape survivor. Now she is a sexual assault nurse examiner herself at Hennepin County Medical Center, helping victims in the same hospital where a nurse helped her.
“It’s a very serious assault”, Michalke said.
The organization is one of the few places victims of sexual abuse can find an advocate.