Filed Under:

Years Delayed, Detroit Starts Testing Rape Kits For Evidence

Play associated audio

Detroit is starting to sort through thousands of boxes of potential evidence in rape cases that have been left unprocessed. The 11,000 "rape kits" were discovered in 2009, and Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy has been leading the effort to process them.

In April, she told weekends on All Things Considered that they began with a random sample of 400 kits to get a snapshot of what they were dealing with. That sampling led to two trials, which resulted in convictions.

"Both of those defendants are now serving time for a very, very long time," Worthy tells Jacki Lyden, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

Lab technicians have tested an additional 243 kits, which Worthy says uncovered more than 21 serial rapists just in that sample. Worthy has estimated that processing all of the backlogged kits would cost around $15 million. Currently, the city has the money to test about 800 to 1,000 kits.

"So we have a lot more work to do in raising funds to see that these kits are tested," she says.

Despite the work left undone, Worthy believes progress can be made to correct the problem nationwide.

"I'm hopeful that if people take the right approach from the very beginning that we can certainly put a dent in this," she says.

After a national protocol is developed, Worthy says, people will know how to handle untested kits.

"But even more optimistically," she says, "I really hope that people will not be stockpiling these rape kits, and we will not even have this as a problem."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

What If You Hadn't Gotten Married? 'Dark Matter' Imagines An Alternate Life

Blake Crouch's new science fiction novel tells the story of Jason Dessen, a father and physics professor who suddenly finds himself in a parallel universe — in which he's unmarried and famous.
NPR

Japan's Lunchbox Trend 'Kyaraben' Takes Lunch Prep To Another Level

It's cute ... but is it too much cultural pressure?
NPR

Bernie Sanders: DNC Emails 'Outrageous' But 'Not A Shock'

Sanders also, once again, called on DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign.
NPR

The Reason Your Feed Became An Echo Chamber — And What To Do About It

It often feels as if social media serves less as a bridge than an echo chamber, with algorithms that feed us information we already know and like. So, how do you break that loop? We ask some experts.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.