Six years ago, 11,000 untested rape kits were found in an abandoned Detroit police storage unit. Since then, NPR reports, most have been sent to crime labs for testing. Prosecutors say the initial results point to at least 188 serial rapists. Often the same DNA shows up in multiple rape kits, or matches DNA in other databases. Investigating all the results will take millions of dollars the city says it just doesn’t have. There are 12,000 untested rape kits in Memphis and over 4,000 in Las Vegas. The Manhattan district attorney has pledged $35 million to help end the nationwide backlog.
So far prosecutors in Detroit have been able to get 15 convictions from testing these rape kits. In some cases, prosecutors are finding offenders already in jail for rapes or murders they committed after the abandoned rape kits were first submitted to Detroit police. The city doesn’t have nearly enough money to investigate and prosecute all of these cases. “It’s ridiculous,” says Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy. She says it’s taken a ton of work just to get the state and federal government to pay $5.5 million to test the kits and do some initial investigations.