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Now here is a story right out of a mystery novel! Last term you may have seen a lot of news articles about the capture of the East Area Rapist also called the Golden State Killer. Although there was DNA evidence it wasn’t much use in the 1970’s and 80’s. Recently there have been advances in getting good DNA samples from old evidence and law enforcement was able to get a DNA profile on the suspect, but what good does that do you if you have nothing to compare it to? Well… seems like a cousin or relative of the actual suspect put a DNA profile on a website called . This was enough to see that this person was related to the suspect and they started sifting through his relatives until they found a good suspect. Crazy, just crazy.
This is a super interesting case, and brings to the forefront the question of old DNA samples/old evidence, that have never been tested. This case was special, the serial rape/murder spree committed looks like the worst in US history. But there are tons of cases left unsolved in California (and in the nation and worldwide) that could be solved if only the DNA evidence was sent to the lab.
——————————————————————————————–Take Take a look at End the Backlog. There is a backlog of rape kits in California, evidence collected after a rape, which have yet to be tested for DNA. Having DNA doesn’t necessarily solve the crime, you would need DNA to compare it to (like from a suspect or another rape kit or a crime scene where DNA evidence was collected ). At the moment there is no huge database of DNA on just regular people to compare DNA evidence to (except GEDmatch I guess – and that is voluntary and random). Sometimes suspects who get DNA tested get linked to other crimes and get caught, but you would have to get access to their DNA in the first place to make those connections. (Or, apparently, a genetic relative uploads their DNA and you get caught because your relative shares a familial match.)
Apparently victims from older crimes were/are not told if their rape kit has even been tested for DNA evidence. The backlog of kits are often older ones, newer kits are much more likely to be tested now that DNA tests are pretty inexpensive and easy to do. Also, in California there is legislation in place to try and get all current rape kits tested within 20 days, but that is “encouraged” and not required.
So here is your question: Should public funds be used to complete testing of the backlog of untested rape kits on file in the State of California?
Take a look at for some basic info regarding our state. Here are a few pieces of info from their site:
- Untested Kits in California: 13,615* (*Partial count of the known rape kit backlog, based on and results from , that just means that there are more that haven’t been counted up.)
- The extent of the untested rape kit backlog in California is unknown. California law does not require that rape kits be inventoried or tested. In 2018, Senator Connie Leyva introduced , which strengthens existing law by requiring the swift submission and testing of newly collected rape kits and appropriates $2 million to support these reforms. Assemblymember David Chiu also introduced , which mandates a one-time, statewide inventory of untested rape kits.
In 2003, California granting victims the right to be informed whether a DNA profile was obtained from testing their rape kit, the profile was uploaded into the DNA database, and the DNA profile matched another profile in the database. Additionally, victims have the right to know if law enforcement decide not to test a rape kit within established time limits, and must be notified 60 days prior if law enforcement intends to destroy or dispose of such evidence. Victims are also granted the right to designate a sexual assault victim advocate to receive any of the above information.
In 2014, California that encourages law enforcement agencies to submit newly collected rape kits for testing within 20 days of being booked into evidence and instructs the crime lab to process rape kit evidence as soon as possible, but no later than 120 days after receiving it. It also requires law enforcement agencies to inform survivors, whether or not the identity of the perpetrator is known, if the law enforcement agency does not analyze the DNA evidence within certain time limits.
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