Springfield Police seeks approval from city council to move forward with testing backlogged sexual assault kits
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Since 2014, the Springfield Police Department has been testing backlogged untested sexual assault kits. Out of the 261 kits they have 119 left to test.
Chief Paul Williams said they’ve sent 30 to the FBI and 112 went under a Missouri Attorney General’s Office grant. Williams said some kits date back to the 1980s.
Recently, police received $120,000 of funding through Springfield City Council to have the 119 kits tested. Each kit costs $1,000.
Williams said the kits have to be reviewed by an independent third-party, which will be Marshall University Forensic Science Center before being added to the FBI database. On Monday, city council will have the first out of two hearings to vote whether or not to approve this.
Missouri State Highway Patrol agreed to assisting SPD by providing technical leadership for the independent testing and review of SAFE kits.
”It’s more of a relief to the victims who have been suffering with the fact that their kits have been sitting on a shelf or in a refrigerator for years without the ability to get them tested,” said Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams. “I’m happy about bringing that positive end to that portion of it to those folks.”
If approved, Williams is hoping to have them sent by January. Then by the end of 2022, the 119 rape kits will be tested and have the results back to determine if they’re of benefit to continue the investigation they’re related too.
“That’s our hope and our intent that we can bring closure to victims but justice to the suspects when we get all of these done,” said Williams. “We won’t have to worry about things in the past. We can concentrate on what’s occurring now and moving forward.”
Williams said they’ll contact the victims with the results and it is up to them with moving forward. He said since 2018 they’re required to test all kits.
In December of 2019, the Attorney General’s office announced there were nearly 7,000 rape kits across the state that had not been tested. That means 7,000 victims did not have answers about their assault.
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