Backlogged Rape Kit Examinations Lead to New Suspects

HONOLULU, OAHU (Ben Caxton) — More than 120 new rape suspects have been identified now that Hawai`i law enforcement is working its way through a backlog of 1,500 stored rape kits. The new suspects have been found by matching DNA evidence in the kits to suspects whose DNA has already been collected and stored in a national offender database. Officials say that in 19 of those cases the victim’s DNA matched that taken from another crime scene, potentially linking yet unknown assailants to multiple crimes. So far the results have not led to any new arrests, and police aren’t clear as to how many of the cases were unsolved at the time the kits were tested. Hawai`i had just a six-year statute of limitations for felony sexual assault, and investigations until changes were made in 2014. If new charges are brought now based on the old evidence the deadline for a conviction could be extended by up to a decade.

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