Houston Police Eliminate Backlog of Rape Samples

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) - Officials say the Houston Police Department no longer has a backlog of 6,600 untested rape samples and pledges to have new ones tested in a timely manner.

Police Chief Charles McClelland tells the Houston Chronicle the backlog was resolved by sending the "rape kits" to outside labs for quicker processing. He says city funding and federal grants paid for the work. Rape kits are the informal term for biological samples and physical evidence gathered from victims of sexual assaults and later processed to see if they match the DNA of a suspect.

Forensic testing at the department's crime lab was temporarily suspended in 2002 and outside audits later documented problems like lax supervision.

Houston is transitioning to a city lab independent of the police.


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