More than 2,000 rape kits from 12 county agencies sent to lab for testing
Last updated 9/21/2020 at 2:57am
More than 2,000 rape kits from a dozen local law enforcement agencies have been sent to an independent lab for testing, with test results received on nearly 90% of the kits, the San Diego County district attorney’s office announced.
The district attorney’s office said the 2,030 kits represent all the previously untested kits from 12 agencies dating back to 1990. The figures do not include San Diego Police Department kits, as the department conducts its own testing.
Of the 2,030 kits sent to Bode Cellmark Forensics of Lorton, Virginia, results have come back on 1,818 kits as of Aug. 19.
Among those results, about 36% of the SART kits tested produced a full or partial DNA profile that belongs to a person who is not the victim, according to the district attorney’s Office, which said the testing efforts were part of a three-year project to cut into San Diego County’s untested rape kit backlog.
The results are being uploaded to the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System – or CODIS – to see if there are potential offender matches, possibly leading to new investigations.
Agencies involved in the project include: San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, with 777 kits; Escondido Police Department, with 414 kits; Oceanside Police Department, with 303 kits; Chula Vista Police Department, with 141 kits; El Cajon Police Department, with 134 kits; Carlsbad Police Department, with 101 kits; National City Police Department, with 93 kits; San Diego State University Police Department, with 23 kits; La Mesa Police Department, with 21 kits; University of California San Diego Police Department, with 16 kits; California State University San Marcos Police Department, with four kits; Coronado Police Department, with three kits.
The district attorney’s office says $1.6 million has been spent on testing, to date.
“As a special victims’ prosecutor, I saw the devastation and long term physical and emotional trauma that victims of sexual assault and exploitation suffer,” district attorney Summer Stephan said. “I vowed we would test every sexual assault kit and we did. As a part of bringing dignity to victims and accountability to perpetrators, rape kits must be tested.
“Even if just a few sexual assault cases are solved, it is worth it. We should not put a price on justice. Information in these sexual assault kits may contain powerful evidence that can speak on behalf of victims and prevent a future assault. In the meantime, I hope sexual predators out there get the message that we will use every available tool to stop them. I’m grateful to the sheriff for his partnership and dedicating many of his resources to this project, along with the collaboration by the police chiefs that made this critical milestone possible,” Stephan said.