Third-Party Lab Finds Results from Untested San Diego PD Rape Kits

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A third of the rape kits that the San Diego Police Department previously considered to have no investigative value and left untested have been found by a third party lab to contain valid DNA profiles that the department could add to state or federal databases used to solve crimes, reports Voice of San Diego. Results from the 1,627 kits sent to third-party lab Bode Technology for analysis after the department succumbed to political pressure to test all rape kits in its possession began arriving in May. Through October, the department received results from 396 kits tested by Bode Technology, and 128 of them contained a profile that met legal standards to be added into and searched against state or federal DNA databases, according to records received by Voice of San Diego through a public records request. SDPD received results for another 81 kits in November, but was still determining how many of the profiles found in them met the legal standards to be added to a DNA database.

By state law, all kits collected since 2016 must be tested. But local officials had for years pushed SDPD to test its historic kits as well, culminating in District Attorney Summer Stephan in 2019 blasting the department after Voice of San Diego reported that crime lab analysts had been instructed to lower their testing standards on some kits to help get through the backlog faster.Two years later, Shen softened her stance slightly, and argued some 500 kits from the backlog could warrant testing, though most untested kits, she said, would still not meet requirements for DNA found in them to be added to federal databases. But the early results from those first kits from the backlog that Shen allowed to be tested, showed immediate results. One third of them produced a DNA sample that could be added to a federal database. The kits coming back from Bode now, meanwhile, are the ones that the department had continued to argue would not be useful to be sent to a crime lab for analysis. That batch is again producing viable DNA profiles to be added to state and federal databases a third of the time. SDPD is still awaiting test results from 1,425 kits sent to Bode for analysis, as of the end of the year.

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