Rape kits in Chesterfield County to finally be tested

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Three years after 8News exposed more than 100 untested rape kits sitting in storage at the Chesterfield Police Department, those kits have finally been sent to a lab for testing.

On Wednesday, 115 Chesterfield rape kits, or PERK kits, were loaded into a van and transported to a private lab in Northern Virginia for testing. One of the kits is more than a decade old dating back to 1993.

“It could help identify perpetrators of crimes and it will also send a real clear signal Commonwealth understands what a heinous crime sexual assault is and that we will stand with the victims and survivors as they pursue justice,” Attorney General Mark Herring said.

Back in 2013, 8News uncovered hundreds of untested rape kits in Central Virginia, sitting on shelves in police evidence room including in Chesterfield, kits that include dozens of hair and clothing samples from victims can provide potentially key DNA evidence that could lead to an arrest. However, at the time, 8News was told many weren’t tested if the Commonwealth’s Attorney didn’t think it was a case prosecutors could win.

8News asked Chesterfield Police if that mentality has changed.

“Yes it has, and I think the Attorney General touched on this, but I think it is very important to look at these cases from a serial perspective,” Lt. Colonel Brian Smith with Chesterfield Police said.

The testing of the 115 kits is part of a statewide effort to end the backlog of kits in storage. AG Herring secured a $1.4 million dollar grant to test 2000 kits around the commonwealth.

ae44c2382f0b4d3e8232e72d50236c94Fairfax, Richmond and Virginia beach have already sent their kits for testing. On Wednesday we learned those Virginia Beach kits had some hits.

“There have been some hits so to speak where the identity of the source of DNA has been determined,” Herring said.

The information has been shared with Virginia Beach police to see if a crime has been committed.

“If so, we will pursue justice and make sure these perpetrators are brought to justice,” Herring said.

It will take about 6 to 10 weeks to test the Chesterfield kits.

The results will then be sent on to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. New state law now requires after a doctor examines someone who has been raped, that the rape kit be tested for DNA within 60 days.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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