The number of untested rape kits sitting in law enforcement evidence rooms in Florida is far worse than authorities had believed, the Miami Herald reports. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed there are more than 10,000 untested kits throughout the state, and they're not done counting. Next month, the agency will make public the full number as part of a $300,000 survey to identify just how big the backlog is. Up until now, the problem was only estimated as being in the “thousands.”
Evidence in those untested kits could not only affect potentially thousands of unsolved sexual assaults but could help solve other crimes in unrelated cases with the same suspects' DNA or uncover serial rapists. Even if all of the untested kits were sent to the state for testing, the state crime lab system is so overloaded it could not process those kits in any timely fashion without millions of dollars for extra workers or to outsource the work, agency officials said. Not included in the new report are 1,500 rape kits that have been submitted to the state local law enforcement agencies for processing since January for older sexual assault cases amid growing media attention over untested kits. About one-third of those cases have been processed; the rest are being earmarked for outsourcing to private labs at a cost of $904 per kit.