In 2009, Detroit prosecutors discovered more than 11,000 boxes of potential evidence in rape cases left completely unprocessed. Row upon row of what are called “rape kits” remained untouched on shelves in a police evidence room for years. No DNA evidence was extracted; no DNA evidence was used to catch or prosecute the assailants, reports NPR.
Since then, Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy has led the effort to sort through those 11,000 rape kits and to find the funding to get them processed. “I don’t know if they were just forgotten, I don’t know if they were ignored, I don’t know if they were deliberately put there,” Worthy says. She arranged for a federal grant of one million dollars, but says that didn’t allow her team to do much more than sort the evidence, match them up with police reports, and begin a database. To process all of the kits, Worthy estimates, would cost about $15 million.