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Efforts to clearly Arizona’s rape kit backlog lead to arrests, convictions

Researchers in Arizona have said, and their attempts to have a backlog of more than 6400 rape kits have led to arrests and convictions.
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Researchers in Arizona have said, and their attempts to have a backlog of more than 6400 rape kits have led to a large number of arrests and convictions.

Prosecutors in Maricopa County, and the police in Tucson and Tempe, said tests on more than 5,000 backlogged rape kits has led to more than 30 arrests and 21 convictions, the Arizona Republic reported last week.

A rape kit collects evidence that may lead to a suspect by DNA.

The tests are carried out with grants topping $3.2 million from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York. Maricopa prosecutors said that they had a $2.7 million grant from the u. s. Ministry of Justice, for the job to test backlogged rape kits, and to hire employees focused on sex-attack cases.

THE TEST OF A 100K BACKLOGGED RAPE KITS, THAT ABOUT LEADS US UP TO 1,000 ARRESTS

The rape kit backlog has been nearly eliminated in Maricopa and completely disabled in Tempe.

Tucson-police are now sorting through more than 400 hits, according to the paper.

“What we found immediately after the test kits from the (attorney of New York) grant, was that the DNA shows up in multiple results, and this person who pops up in multiple kits is a series of rapist,” Detective Dallas Wilson said. “That — combined with a better understanding of the effects and memory — has really changed in the way of doing sexual abuse investigations.”

The Arizona sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit Task Force reported a backlog of 6,400 untested kits in 2016.

VIRGINIA AG: TEST CONNECT PRE-2014 RAPE KIT BACKLOG

Some of the cases dates back decades, the paper reported.

Test in 2017 on a backlogged rape kit led Maricopa prosecutors to Nicholas Blackwater, a man where a 54-year prison sentence for a series of sexual assaults from 1997 to 2001, Cronkite News, the news division of the Arizona PBS, which last year was reported.

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The test on a 17-year-old rape kit tied Blackwater to a series of rapes dating back to 2000, the news outlet reported. He pleaded guilty to kidnapping with sexual motivation. His punishment was an additional four years in prison.

Tasha Menaker, of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, told Cronkite News that clearing the backlog “will bring justice to a lot of people whose cases were not previously studied.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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