Science

New hope for rape kit testing advocates

Five years after more than 11,000 unprocessed rape kits — some dating back to the 1980s — were discovered in a police warehouse in Detroit, cities across the US are working to eliminate their own huge backlogs of untested evidence. Thousands of sexual assault cases are beginning to be resolved.

When Detroit prosecutors and state police toured a large storage warehouse in 2009, they made a startling discovery — more a huge cache of untested rape kits, each representing a report to the police and a lengthy hospital visit to collect evidence.

Armed with a large grant by the National Institute of Justice, prosecutors and Detroit police have now completed testing of 2,000 of those kits and are in the process of testing another 8,000.

The testing, as of October, had produced more than 750 DNA matches to a national database managed by the FBI known as Codis.

Investigations of these matches continue, but so far the Wayne County prosecutor’s office — which includes Detroit — has produced warrants for 23 alleged rapists and convicted 14 of them, with three awaiting trial.

The office, run by the county’s top prosecutor, Kym Worthy, has also identified 188 serial rapists from the processed kits who have committed crimes in 27 other states — via redwolf.newsvine.com

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