Thousands of rape kits untested throughout Missouri

90 percent of Missouri backlogged rape kits are untested

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The Missouri Attorney General’s office plans to release the number of untested sexual assault kits at the end of October.

This comes after Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative and his goal to create an inventory of all untested kits.

“I’ll get a call back from an adult and he or she will ask did my results come in, did my kit, what did it say? Was there DNA on my body,” said Tracy Smith, a sexual assault nurse examiner and forensic interviewer at SEMO NASV. “And I have to tell them currently I don’t know if that kit has even been processed. I turn that kit over to law enforcement and law enforcement in turn takes that kit to the crime lab. It’s not like a regular medical office where the results come back to the nurse or doctor.”

She also said if the person does not file an official police report, their kit will remain stored away, unless the victim was a juvenile.

“There’s a lot of reasons why an anonymous kit should still be processed. It would give that adult a feeling of closure,” said Smith.

According to the Attorney General’s Press Secretary, they’ve collected almost all the information about untested kits statewide. Once that happens, with grant money, they plan to help fund more testing facilities and create a sexual assault kit electronic database for victims, law enforcement, and hospitals. But, that will take time.

“For the clients that we see, for the survivors that we see, it would absolutely be a great step in the right direction just to know I was taken seriously. I was taken care of the day the event happened, and everything that I went through to get that kit collected was not in vain because then that kit’s processed, and the information that we need is there.”

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, as of September 1, 2019, their labs have more than 622 kits awaiting to be tested. But the agency states it tests all kits it receives from Missouri law enforcement agencies.

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