New methods for tracking sexual assault kits of Hoosiers are underway. Sen. Michael Crider led an audit that shows close to half of 5,300 kits went unprocessed for reasons that remain unclear. Crider says the number of untested kits is surprising.
“When I first started compiling this I thought the number was potentially much higher,” Crider says. “If you’re a victim, obviously the crime rate for you is 100 percent.”
Crider says each kit is representative of a person’s life and he hopes to process as many kits as possible. But Major Steve Holland from the State Police Laboratory System says each kit includes 15 to 20 samples that have to be tested. He says it can get expensive.
“To give you a specific number, that each kit cost X, is difficult because each kit in theory is different,” Holland says. “I can tell you that if we outsource these kits, it’s probably in the range of $1,000 per kit.”
Prosecutor David Powell says he estimates the kits in the audit could date back as far as 20 years. He says the next step is to figure out why the kits were never tested.
“I don’t want to speculate, but our guess is that a lot of these kits were just left in the evidence room,” Powell says. “But they may have been a ‘Jane Doe’ kit that should have been destroyed. They’re supposed to be destroyed after 12 months, but my experience with law enforcement and evidence rooms is they tend to leave everything in there forever.”
Crider says he will present a bill in the 2018 legislative session. It will address the issue of backlogging and include recommendations by state police. He says they’ve talked about creating a better tracking mechanism by using bar codes.