DETROIT (AP) – More than 10,000 sexual assault kits dating back decades that were found in a Detroit police property storage facility have now been tested, putting authorities near to completion and meaning they can investigate those remaining and prosecute any that get hits on a federal DNA database.
The kits were among 11,341 found in 2009, for sexual assaults that occurred as far back as 1984. They were handed over to the state police for forensic testing. Testing remains to be done for some kits. It will take about three to five years to investigate them all and prosecute those they can, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said at a news conference Wednesday.
“It doesn’t bring justice to any victims unless we investigate them like they should have been investigated in the first place,” Worthy said. Her office currently is looking at 106 cases and has found 477 links to serial rapists.
“We have a lot more work to do,” said Worthy.
The Detroit kits that have been tested show DNA connections to other cases or individuals in 35 states and Washington D.C., “proving this laboratory service was important not just for Wayne County or Michigan, but for the entire nation,” state police director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said.
Gov. Rick Snyder said survivors of sexual assault deserve quick justice, and the state will work to make sure such a stockpile doesn’t occur again.
“Many steps have been taken within state government to prioritize this project and we will continue pushing forward for the resolution of these cases,” he said.
But testing, investigations and prosecutions still are hindered by cost. Federal grants paid for the testing of the first 2,000 kits. The state then chipped in $4 million to test 8,000 kits and $3 million to the Attorney General’s office to help in prosecutions.
Groups are helping in an effort to raise $10 million from private donors and nonprofit organizations.
“We can only go as fast as the resources we have,” Worthy said.
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