DENVER - Rape kits that sat untested in Colorado police evidence rooms for decades are now making their way to forensic laboratories across the nation under a new law prompted by a CALL7 Investigation.
In November 2012, CALL7 Investigators revealed police departments throughout the state were failing to test DNA evidence provided by victims after sexual assaults. Advocates say that evidence is key to putting serial rapists behind bars and helping victims find justice.
The first batch of 175 kits are being analyzed by four laboratories:
- Bode Technology in Virginia
- Orchid Cellmark in Texas
- Sorenson Forensics in Utah
- Trinity DNA Solutions in Florida
The results are due by the end of June. From there, Colorado Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Susan Medina said the agency will start sending larger batches of evidence.
"We purposely sent a smaller batch in this first round to evaluate the logistics associated with this large-scale project," Medina said.
HB13-1020, signed into law in June 2013, required law enforcement agencies across the state to create an inventory of all untested rape kits in their department's possession. The CBI says thus far, agencies have reported more than 6,000 untested kits.
Due to certain requirements in the law such as statutes of limitation and victims' willingness to cooperate, the CBI must go through case-by-case to determine exactly how many rape kits are still eligible to be tested. That process is ongoing, Medina said.
The CBI is required by law to analyze all untested kits by June 2015.
See more coverage of "Untested Justice", an on-going investigation of untested rape kits in Colorado, here.