Rape Kit Backlog Update



The latest update on the city’s rape kit backlog was disclosed during the Memphis City Council's Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee meeting Tuesday morning.

Nearly 7,000 of the 12,374 untested rape kits discovered by the Memphis Police Department (MPD) in late 2013 and early 2014 still await laboratory analysis.

According to the Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Taskforce, at the end of January, there were still 5,846 untested rape kits. Another 1,142 have been processed for serology (evidence of bodily fluids) but haven't been sent off to a laboratory for DNA analysis. This leaves the number of kits that have been analyzed or are at the lab awaiting analysis at 5,386.

"We've made improvement on every front, from the number that have come back for DNA to the number that have come back that are negative for serology," said Doug McGowen of the SAK Taskforce. "We've made significant progress since last month."

Kit testing thus far has enabled the MPD to initiate 352 investigations. Of that amount, 127 are active, and 225 are closed.

MPD investigations have resulted in 58 indictments. Of this number, 25 rapists have been identified.

Individuals convicted of aggravated rape face up to 60 years in prison.

The latest rape kit backlog numbers are below:

• 12,374 total rape kits discovered untested in 2013/2014

• 5,846 kits untested by end of January 2015

• 2,375 kits at forensic laboratories now

• 1,142 processed for at least serology

• 1,965 negative for serology

• 1,046 processed for DNA

• 352 investigations have been initiated

• 127 investigations remain active

• 225 investigations have been closed

• 28 individuals identified as being previously convicted

• 58 indictments issued

• 25 named suspects

• 33 John Does (unidentified)

• 28 victims/suspects are deceased

• 33 victims declined to participate in an investigation

• 5 victims were unable to be located by law enforcement

• 47 cases were past the statute of limitations

• 23 cases had insufficient/degraded DNA

• 3 cases investigated did not meet the statute definitions of a crime

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