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In Detroit, another backlog of untested rape kits found in storage

Mar 27, 2017

Prosecutors say a second backlog of more than 500 untested Detroit rape kits languished in storage for years after more than 11,000 other unprocessed evidence packages were discovered in 2009.

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller tells MLive that out-of-state laboratory workers discovered 555 additional untested rape packages while testing some of the 11,000 untested rape kits.

The additional rape kits were collected by Detroit police in 2010 and 2011, and eventually sent for testing in 2015.

The delay in testing allowed a serial rapist to go undetected for seven years. His DNA was found in a rape kit from 2010, and he allegedly attacked another victim in 2011 before the kit was tested in 2015. The 46-year-old man was arrested in January. 

The issue of rape kits continuing to go untested after the 2009 discovery of thousands of kits in a police warehouse wasn't announced by the Detroit Police Department, but by the Fair Michigan Justice Project, a partnership between the nonprofit LGBTQ advocacy group Fair Michigan and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office.

Of the 555 discovered kits sent for testing, 135 produced DNA profiles that matched samples already in the national database. Nine of those cases have resulted in warrants.

A Michigan law passed in 2014 mandates that once a rape kit collection is conducted, police must collect it and send it to a lab with 28 days.