ATLANTA — Two alleged serial rapists in metro-Atlanta are finally facing charges thanks to some unlikely help from New York.
For years, 11Alive has reported on the backlog of untested rape kits in Georgia. A 2016 law required those kits to be tested, but money was an issue.
That's where New York came into play.
This week, the Manhattan District Attorney's office announced the results of a three-year program to clear backlogs across the country.
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Taking $38 million seized from financial crime suspects, the DA's office doled out grants to 20 states. Georgia took the largest grant at nearly $2 million.
In Cobb County, 51-year-old Christopher Sanders is accused of raping three women dating back to 2006. But the rape kits in all three cases were never tested.
"Now it does get passed along to us to see, 'okay, now that we have a hit, what can we do with that case,'" said Cobb County Assistant DA Theresa Schiefer, part of the metro-Atlanta sexual assault cold case task force.
In Fulton County, Dandre Shabazz was linked to 15 sexual assaults after kits were finally tested.
Back in Manhattan, the DA announced this week their nationwide efforts led to 55,000 kits being tested, 186 arrests and 64 convictions.
"I was ignorant of the scope of the problem once I was educated I understood the importance of the task we were taking on," said Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.
The GBI announced in November the backlog of nearly 3,000 kits was finally cleared. That resulted in 321 hits in the national CODIS database.