Indiana State Police say a review found more than 2,500 untested sexual assault evidence kits sitting in police departments across the state.
There were a total of 5,396 untested kits. But about half are linked to cases where a conviction was secured without the evidence, no crime was reported, or authorities determined an assault wasn't committed. That leaves 2,560 evidence kits untested for unknown reasons.
Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) sponsored a measure last year that led to the audit. He says the number of untested kits is surprising.
“When I first started compiling this I thought the number was potentially much higher,” Crider says. “If you’re a victim, obviously the crime rate for you is 100 percent.”
Crider says each kit is representative of a person’s life and he hopes to process as many kits as possible. But Major Steve Holland from the Indiana State Police Laboratory System says each kit includes 15 to 20 samples that have to be tested. He says it can get expensive.
“To give you a specific number, that each kit cost X, is difficult because each kit in theory is different,” Holland says. “I can tell you that if we outsource these kits, it’s probably in the range of $1,000 per kit.”
Prosecutor David Powell says he estimates the kits in the audit could date back as far as 20 years. He says the next step is to figure out why the kits were never tested.
“I don’t want to speculate, but our guess is that a lot of these kits were just left in the evidence room,” Powell says. “But they may have been a ‘Jane Doe’ kit that should have been destroyed. They’re supposed to be destroyed after 12 months, but my experience with law enforcement and evidence rooms is they tend to leave everything in there forever.”
Crider says he will present legislation in 2018 to address the issue of backlogging, and include recommendations by state police. He says they’ve talked about creating a better tracking mechanism by using bar codes.
Read the full audit below: