AG Josh Stein announces NC’s decades-long backlog of 16,000 untested rape kits has been cleared

AG Josh Stein announces NC’s decades-long backlog of 16,000 untested rape kits has been cleared

Attorney General Josh Stein announced earlier this month that North Carolina’s backlog of untested sexual assault kits – once the largest in the country – had been cleared.

Stein had prioritized clearing the backlog since he took office in 2017. In conjunction with local law enforcement and the legislature, the North Carolina Department of Justice undertook a statewide inventory of untested kits and found more than 16,000 of them sitting on the shelves of law enforcement agencies across the state in 2019, Stein’s office said in a release. Under the process set out by the Survivor’s Act, it was determined that 11,858 of those kits needed to be tested.

As of April, 11,841 kits have been tested or are in the process of being tested. Of those, 5,078 samples have been entered into the CODIS DNA database, and CODIS has matched the samples to 2,723 hits, according to the state’s live-tracking database. More than 2,000 of those samples had hits to offenders whose DNA is already in the database due to previous arrests or convictions. So far, 114 arrests have been made based on these hits. The remaining several kits are currently being processed for testing.

“[This] excellent news is the result of an impressive team effort, but our work doesn’t end now,” Stein said in a statement. “We’ve put in place measures to ensure that we never get into this situation again in North Carolina, and I intend to continue to do everything in my power to help law enforcement solve cold cases and get rapists off the streets and behind bars.”

An overview of the timeline of the testing effort is available here, an overview of kit statistics is available here, a breakdown of kit statistics is available here and you can click here to take a closer look at some of the cases that have resulted in arrests and/or convictions.

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Patrick Zarcone

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