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Houston’s Rape Kit Backlog Is Cleared

The backlog of untested rape kits at the Houston Police Department has been eliminated. It took a multimillion dollar effort to clear it.

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From left to right: Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, Houston Police Department Capt. Jennifer Evans, Houston Mayor Annise D. Parker, Houston Forensic Science Center Forensic Analysis Division Director Irma Rios, and Houston council members.

 

The backlog of more than 6,600 kits that sat in the Houston Police Department property room dated back nearly 30 years.

Irma Rios with the Houston Forensic Science Center says it took a collaborative effort to eliminate it.

“We have to thank Mayor Annise Parker for choosing to put forward $2.2 million dollars to help test all the kits, HPD and the district attorney for all their hard work and support, and the National Institute of Justice for the grant funding that they provided,” Rios said.

Houston Forensic Science analysts reviewed more than 3,000 kits that had DNA evidence.

Captain Jennifer Evans, with the Houston Police Department’s Special Victim’s Division, says more than 2,300 DNA profiles were entered into CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System.

“The investigative follow-up is a lengthy process. We have a team of investigators dedicated to this effort, to investigate each case as thoroughly as possible,” said Evans.

To date, the Harris County DA’s Office has been able to file 29 charges from the cleared rape kits. Two of those cases have already resulted in convictions. The defendants were sentenced to 40 and 45 years in prison. 

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