Thousands of Samples: Untested Rape Kits Hold Evidence

Sep 24, 2015

A recent state report revealed that more than 2300 Personal Evidence Recovery Kits in police departments throughout Virginia have not been tested.  The evidence could potentially identify and lead to the prosecution of sex offenders. 

The Department of Forensic Science found that these kits may contain biological evidence. The 2369 kits were not tested because prosecutors or victims chose not to proceed, as well as other reasons. But a work group of criminal attorneys, victims’ advocates, prosecutors, and others has begun meeting to decide the next steps. There’s been concern that if the kits are tested, it could create a backlog and hinder other, current cases. But Public Safety Secretary Brian Moran says there’s a contingency plan.

Several recent high-profile Virginia cases have been linked due to DNA evidence. They include the ongoing trials of Jesse Matthew and the now-solved case of the Charlottesville serial rapist. Victims’ advocates say it's imperative to answer any questions about these untested kits to help provide closure to victims of many unsolved cases.