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Michigan gives $3 million to investigate 11,000 rape kits; DNA results point to serial attackers

G.L. Kohuth
Michigan State University
Rebecca Campbell, professor of psychology, and Giannina Fehler-Cabral, graduate research assistant, are looking into why more than 10,000 rape kits in Detroit went untested.

The state is kicking in $3 million to investigate evidence found from thousands of backlogged rape kits in Detroit.

Some 11,000 abandoned rape kits were found in an old Detroit police evidence locker in 2009.

By now they've all been tested for DNA.

As results come in, a lot of kits are pointing to serial rapists, because the same DNA shows up in multiple kits.

But this is when the real work begins.

Investigating and prosecuting these leads takes a ton of resources because they're essentially cold cases, and often the statute of limitations clock is ticking.

This pot of money will go toward paying full-time analysts, investigators, and prosecutors.

Andrea Bitely is with the Michigan Attorney General's office.

“We'll be prioritizing based on the focus on the worst offenders, the statute of limitations, and risk to public safety."

It could take several million more dollars to wrap up all the cases. The city is working with a private foundation, Enough SAID, with a goal of raising $10 million to investigate and prosecute these cases. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health and the COVID-19 pandemic.
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