Hundreds of rape kits submitted to State Crime Lab
SEATTLE - Hundreds of King County rape kits, untested for years, have made it to the State Crime Lab. But, results won't be ready anytime soon.
For years, the sexual assault kits have remained refrigerated in the King County Sheriff's evidence room, after detectives decided there was no point in testing them.
"In other words, there was no evidentiary value we could get from those kits because of the particular case they were involved with- it was a known suspect or the victim had recanted or something along those lines," said King County Sheriff John Urquhart.
State Law no longer gives detectives that discretion. All law enforcement agencies must submit every kit for testing within 30 days.
"I think the new state law is a good law. I think it takes that discretion away from the police officer," said Sheriff Urquhart. "Let's just test all of them and see what happens from that."
Scientist are examining biological evidence from the kits that may help detectives solve crimes using with saliva, blood or semen.
They're adding these DNA profiles to a data base that could help solve future crimes.
"The same value we would get from having someone's DNA in the national database is we don't know what other crimes may have been committed by this person and now we'll have a DNA analysis," said Sheriff Urquhart.
"It's a 15-step, 4-hours process," said King County Councilman Rod Dembowski at the Council's meeting on Tuesday.
During the meeting, the sheriff's office reported 32 of the nearly 250 kits they've sent to the crime lab are now being tested. Why the low number? The sheriff's office points to funding issues for the state lab.
"That's almost the untold story here in some cases 55 is they are severely underfunded they don't have enough money, therefore enough scientists, to analyze all the other DNA that's coming in from current crimes," said Urquhart.
In the meantime, major cimes detectives are waiting to see if the processing of the kits will hep with leads in cases.
The King County Council gave the sheriff's office $200,000 so detectives could submit the untested kits. They're only expected to use about $50,000 of that funding.