Houston completes testing on backlog of 6,600 rape kits; 29 are charged so far
Prosecutors in Houston have completed testing on a three-decade backlog of 6,600 sexual assault kits, leading to new charges against 29 suspects.
Six of those suspects are accused of committing other rapes before the rape kits were tested, the Houston Chronicle reports. “It did happen unfortunately,” said District Attorney Devon Anderson. “We are eagerly looking forward to prosecuting those rapists, those repeat rapists.”
More charges are expected after DNA test results from the rape kits were entered into a national FBI database, producing 850 hits. The results were announced at a press conference on Monday, the Associated Press reports.
Testing on the backlog began after Houston’s city council approved $4.4 million in funding for the effort in 2013, the Chronicle says. Private labs tested the samples, while police personnel and city forensics employees entered DNA information from 2,305 eligible cases into the FBI database.
Other cities also have a backlog of rape kits that have not been tested, partly because of test costs that are as high as $1,000 per rape kit. More than 12,000 kits went untested in Memphis. More than 11,000 untested kits were found abandoned in a police warehouse in Detroit in 2009, and a 4,700-kit backlog existed in Cleveland. All are now working to test the kits.