5 Years Later, Detroit Rape Kits Still Untested


Nearly five years after the discovery of 11,000 abandoned rape evidence kits in a Detroit police warehouse sparked outrage, only about 2,000 of the kits have undergone DNA testing, reports the Detroit Free Press. All the kits are finally expected to get tested this year because the state Legislature appropriated $4 million to send them to private labs. Testing on the kits has already produced more than 500 hits with named suspects on a national DNA database, but police and prosecutors haven't even begun to follow up on more than 150 of those leads.

The reasons for the delays vary, but followups take time. Once evidence is tested, victims must be found, witnesses must be interviewed or re-interviewed, and old police files must be located or reconstructed. Further complicating matters has been a lack of resources — money, as well as police, prosecutors and investigators — a lack of communication and coordination among the investigating agencies, and a loss of trust among victims in the agencies that seemingly mishandled their cases.

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