Category Archives: Backlogs

RTP research group spearheads effort to clear backlog of sexual assault cases

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (WTVD) — The backlog of sexual assault test kits isn’t just a problem in North Carolina, it’s a national issue.
And the effort to not only clear the backlog but also to reform the way sexual assault investigations are handled is being spearheaded in Research Triangle Park.

Nine people charged with sexual assault following testing of rape kits

Nine people are facing criminal charges of sexual assault as the Wisconsin Department of Justice continues to work through a backlog of thousands of untested rape kits.

Tom Cullerton applauds ISP’s efforts to eliminate forensic backlog

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) praised the Illinois State Police crime lab’s efforts to reduce the massive backlog of cases awaiting DNA analysis. This month, ISP posted 26 job postings for forensic scientists to get to work on the massive backlog of cases. Filling these positions will allow the agency to address the backlog.

Launching the first statewide rape kit tracking system

In 2014, Idaho began a new journey in handling sexual assault kits (SAKs). I had heard the stories about backlogged SAKs coming out of Detroit, Los Angeles and Houston. Because of my role in the Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations, a national advocacy group, I knew legislation was on the horizon. Therefore, I initiated a statewide effort for an informal survey of kits at law enforcement agencies in our state.

A decades-old rape test sent him to prison. Then his high school girlfriend saw an old photograph.

The discovery horrified Detroit, and the nation: More than 11,000 rape kits were sitting untested in a police warehouse, in some cases gathering dust for decades before prosecutors stumbled upon the boxes in 2009.
One in particular had been collected in November 1997, when a 15-year-old girl came to police with a harrowing tale. After she left a store on Detroit’s east side, she said, a stranger lunged at her. He put a gun to her head and covered her head with a rag, then dragged her into an alleyway, where he raped her. A nurse performed a sexual assault examination, but the evidence went untouched for nearly two decades, until the untested rape kits became a national scandal. In 2015, prosecutors working their way through the backlog finally sent it out for testing.

An Epidemic of Disbelief

What new research reveals about sexual predators, and why police fail to catch them.

Duluth Police: All backlog sexual assault kits tested, investigations ongoing

DULUTH, MN– Around this time last year, the Duluth Police Department was in over their heads.
Duluth was being called the worst city in the state when it came to efficiently testing sexual assault kits with hundreds of kits, some dating back to 1993.
Now, more than a year later, the department has submitted all of its kits and we’re learning the results of the testing.

India’s state forensic labs expanding infrastructure on back of rising demand for DNA Testing

Led by Delhi and Maharashtra, India’s forensic laboratories have managed to reduce pendency of DNA testing cases by a 50 per cent national average. While Delhi has eliminated most of its case backlog, Maharashtra is upgrading facilities across regions like Aurangabad and Amravati as a response to the ever-increasing demand for DNA testing from law enforcement agencies and courts.

New DNA evidence solves 1982 cold case killing at Lake Tahoe

At a news conference in Reno on Tuesday, sheriff’s detectives, forensic scientists, and genealogists described a remarkable series of challenges they faced in piecing together evidence and tracing the extended family trees of hundreds of individuals based on DNA run through an online genealogy databased called GEDMatch.

5 years after rape kit backlog controversy, Salt Lake police celebrate ‘huge strides’

SALT LAKE CITY — Nearly five years have gone by since the state of Utah and Salt Lake City made headlines for a backlog of hundreds of untested rape kits.
Now, after laws were passed at the state and city level to address the backlog, Salt Lake police are celebrating a cultural shift in how sexual assault reports are treated — and that their work has resulted in the identification of more than 100 suspects from the backlog.

DNA Detectives: Scientists combining forensics with genealogy break ‘unsolvable’ cases

(InvestigateTV) – Thanks to a breakthrough in how DNA is used, more than 1,000 collective years worth of cold cases across the U.S. have been solved in just the last nine months.
Police are teaming up with genealogists to track killers through their blood lines.

Her body was found with her baby, still alive, beside her. 47 years later, an arrest

Investigators in Johnston County announced an arrest in a murder case Tuesday that ran cold for almost 47 years.
Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell re-opened the investigation into the killing of Bonnie Neighbors in 2007. He called it the oldest cold case in Johnston County.

More than 20 states have shown interest in Idaho State Police’s sexual assault kit tracking system

Idaho continues to be a model across the nation in how sexual assault kits are tracked. More than 20 states have contacted the Idaho State Police Forensic Services lab inquiring about the tracking system it uses, according to Idaho State Police’s 2018 Sexual Assault Kit Tracking report. Puerto Rico is adopting the system this week.

DNA testing helps clear city’s rape-case backlog

The District Attorney’s Office and the Philadelphia Police announced that as many as 65 open rape cases may be impacted following the testing of 1,574 previously untested forensic evidence collection kits, or “rape kits,” some dating back as far as the 1980s.
District Attorney Larry Krasner said on Thursday that he believes his office can proceed with prosecuting many new cases as a result of the evidence, including the cases against two men who allegedly committed rapes in 2000 and 2001.
Overall, the Criminalistics Unit of the police department’s Office of Forensics and Science has tested nearly 4,000 backlogged and new sexual assault kits.

Rape kit backlog forcing city to look outward, victims notified years later

Austin Police Department’s thousands of backlogged rape kits have been tested, but still need to be reviewed and entered into the Combined DNA Index Systems, the FBI’s national DNA database. While the Austin-area DNA lab is indexing DNA kits from the backlog, APD needs other labs to index the new cases that arrive each month.
Austin City Council approved four items last week to aid the Capital Area DNA Lab with preventing a future backlog of DNA kits and processing incoming cases.