ATLANTA – More than 5,000 rapes cases in Georgia are sitting unsolved. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s goal is to change that in the way of forensic evidence.
There are approximately 5,250 untested kits, including 1,250 that are from prior to 1999. And each month, between 250-300 more rape kits are sent to the GBI’s lab for testing.
However, with an allotted $856,000 in the state budget this year, 12 lab employees were hired specifically dedicated to testing backlogged rape kits.
Four forensic analysts and two lab technicians will start on July 1. An additional four analysts, two lab technicians will begin on Jan. 1, 2018.
Testing the thousands of kits that have been sitting on evidence shelves, means that there will not be a delay in evidence when it comes to the criminal justice process, GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.
Most kits include:
- Detailed instructions for the examiner
- Forms for documenting the procedure and evidence gathered
- Tubes and containers for blood and urine samples
- Paper bags for collecting clothing and other physical evidence
- Swabs for biological evidence collection
- A large sheet of paper on which the victim undresses to collect hairs and fibers
- Dental floss and wooden sticks for fingernail scrapings
- Glass slides
- Sterile water and saline
- Envelopes, boxes and labels for each of the various stages of the exam
According to the GBI data, there were 2,234 reported rapes in 2015 throughout the state—a rise since 2005, when there were 2,086 reported.
In 2015, metro Atlanta had 830 reported rapes—nearly 40 percent of all of Georgia’s rapes.
In September 2015, the GBI was awarded nearly $2 million to eliminate the backlog. In July 2016, the GBI sent out the first shipment of untested kits to be test.
A new state law was passed following a July 2015 joint Tegna-USA Today investigation on how the GBI had backlogged nearly 270 untested kit, requiring all rape kits from local law enforcement agencies to be sent to the state's crime lab by the end of August 2016.