Clearing 12,000 untested rape kits will cost more than $4M - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Clearing 12,000 untested rape kits will cost more than $4M

With one million from the state and one and a half million dollars from the city council, rape kits are now being sent to private labs for testing. The DA says at a rate of 400 per month. With one million from the state and one and a half million dollars from the city council, rape kits are now being sent to private labs for testing. The DA says at a rate of 400 per month.
Twenty-five years ago, three men abducted and raped Terry Alrdrige-Burks. She was brave enough to share her reaction to the revelation police have increased the number of untested rape kits by a sixfold since originally reported. Twenty-five years ago, three men abducted and raped Terry Alrdrige-Burks. She was brave enough to share her reaction to the revelation police have increased the number of untested rape kits by a sixfold since originally reported.

(WMC-TV) - Clearing the 12,113 unprocessed rape kits in the Memphis Police Department's possession will cost more than $4.6 million dollars.

That comes out to one rape every day for 33 years straight, which is enough to fill almost every seat in AutoZone Park.

Twenty-five years ago, three men abducted and raped Terry Alrdrige-Burks. She was brave enough to share her reaction to the revelation police have increased the number of untested rape kits by a sixfold since originally reported. Police revealed 2,000 untested rape kits in August.

"It does make me wonder if any of the kits were tested," she said. "The 6,000 was too big so you can imagine the 12,000 is really too big."

Burks says she called for years to see if her kit could identify her rapists.

"After I viewed them through the lineup, couldn't remember them, I got nothing. Absolutely no phone call," she said. "These are not boxes. They're women with families, with names, with friends, that have been sitting on that shelf."

Prosecutors and police say untested kits do not mean rape cases were not being investigated and prosecuted. District Attorney Amy Weirich says there are many reasons why the kits were not tested.

"It's not as if this office and law enforcement were not working, not holding offenders accountable," she said.

Weirich says some rape kits were not tested because the suspect was picked out of a lineup, confessed, and was sentenced. Also, money was a big problem. The TBI can only handle so many cases, and private labs cost.

Weirich says 400 kits a month are being sent to labs for testing.

The problem began ballooning for police and prosecutors across the country when DNA testing came about in the 1990s.

"We're gonna do what we have to do. We'll spend the amount of money we have to spend. I'll come back to the council mid-year if I feel I need additional dollars to continue the project," said police director Toney Armstrong.

Alrdrige-Burks says she applauds the department for not sweeping the problem under the rug.

Some of the results from the testing of kits could link Memphis cases to cases in other states. It could also clear people wrongly accused and re-open old cases.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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