GBI: number of 'warehoused' rape kits nears 3500

- They represent what is likely the most solid evidence a rape victim has against his or her attacker and now, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation confirmed the number of previously untested rape kits in Georgia has grown to nearly 3500.

Under a new statute passed by state lawmakers this year, law enforcement agencies had until August 15 to create and submit a list to the GBI of "warehoused" kits in their possession.

As of the end of last week, the GBI had collected a total of 2,411 previously unsubmitted kits from all over the state.

GBI Spokeswoman Nelly Miles said law enforcement agencies had notified them of another 1,070 they intended to submit to the lab by the end of the month, as required by the new law.  According to Miles, that figure only represented 48 agency "responses."

Those kits are made up of any evidence collected by a law enforcement agency before January 2015.

"It's not a surprise and it's proof that this important law is working," said Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, who authored the original rape kit testing bill. "I expect the numbers will go even higher."

Moving forward, the legislation requires caregivers who perform a sexual assault examination to immediately notify the appropriate law enforcement agency at the victim's request. Law enforcement then has 96 hours to collect the rape kit and 30 days to submit it to the GBI for testing.

Because of the large number of previously untested kits, the GBI secured a federal grant earlier this year to pay for private lab testing.  They mailed their first shipment of sexual assault kits to Sorenson Genomics, a DNA lab in Salt Lake City, Utah in April.

As of last month Sorenson had returned results from 100 kits to the GBI.  Of those, 10 matched profiles already in the national DNA database known as CODIS. 

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