Testing backlogged rape kits yields 200 indictments

Testing backlogged rape kits yields 200 indictments
Published: Oct. 18, 2016 at 8:24 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2016 at 12:53 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - More than half of Memphis' untested rape kits have been tested, and 200 people have been indicted thanks to those tests.

Memphis Police Department released new details on the rape kid backlog during Tuesday's city council meeting.

On September 16, 2014, Memphis Police Department discovered thousands of untested rape kits in a storage facility. That discovery pushed the total number of untested rape kits in the city to more than 12,300.

Over the past two years Memphis investigators have sent off more than three quarters of those kits for testing.

"Fifty-six percent of the kits have been tested and are completed and are back in our inventory," LT. Colonel Don Crowe said. "So we're making progress on the testing, the shipping and the investigations."

Those tested rape kits have resulted in 200 indictments; 133 of those have named suspects, while the 67 others have DNA matches.

Some of the cases will never end in justice, because the victim or the suspect is deceased. In 269 cases, the statute of limitations on the crime has expired, meaning the criminals will get away without being punished.

The delay in testing the rape kits has many victims and victim advocates upset. Meaghan Ybos said the city is doing remedial work now. She said Memphis Police Department and the city have done nothing to address how and why so many kits were abandoned.

She said those kits should have been tested as soon as they were taken. By not doing so, Memphis failed the victims of sexual assault and allowed rapist to walk free.

Crowe, who has been leading the charge to get the backlogged rape kits tested, said progress is being made. He pointed to the 200 indictments the rape kits have yielded so far.

"This is 200 monsters that have walked the streets and hurt people. And we are very happy to get them off the streets and put them where they belong," Crowe said.

Tuesday, City Council members celebrated the 200 indictment milestone and the possibility of getting justice for at least some of the victims.

"I want them to know that we are working as hard as we can. It's not something that's forgotten," Councilman Worth Morgan said.

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