Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Friday that state officials have cleared Ohio's backlog of untested rape kits. The state has been working through nearly 14,000 kits since 2011.
The undertaking began after DeWine called on law enforcement agencies across Ohio to send in untested samples. Those results helped connect 300 suspects to more than 1,200 offenses. DeWine says victims deserve to have evidence in a crime handled promptly.
“These are more than just boxes of evidence,” DeWine says. “Each one of these kits represents a victim. A victim who suffered unimaginable trauma at the hands of a rapist—13,931 victims.”
Since the effort began, state lawmakers have passed provisions that extended the statute of limitations for sexual assault and required the submission of every rape kit to a testing facility within 30 days.
"I knew that testing these kits would take time, but it was in fact the right thing to do” Dewine says. “We owed it to the victims of crime."
Testing the kits isn’t a simple process. Technicians complete about 2,600 in a year, and the average turnaround time is a couple of weeks. But Bureau of Criminal Investigation scientist Kristen Slaper explains in an emergency, they can expedite the process.
"The fastest that we've turned around a DNA case for a rush situation is eight hours," she says.