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More than two years ago, Cleveland police started an ambitious project to account for thousands of pieces of evidence in sexual assault cases going back at least 20 years. In doing so, they join a growing number of cities across America that are testing old evidence that has the potential to solve cold cases and offer some solace for victims, even in cases that can't be prosecuted.
Ask anyone to name the most serious crimes--rape and murder always top the list. It is impossible to imagine critical evidence in a murder case would not be used to put a murderer behind bars and bring peace and safety to the victim's loved ones and community.
A recently formed organization that contends there is a nationwide backlog of untested rape kits told The Associated Press on Monday that it was teaming with a New York university to try to figure out how many are sitting on police department shelves as a first step in clearing the logjam.
Over the last two years, cities across Texas, including Houston, have acknowledged significant backlogs of untested rape kits in their police storage facilities — at least 4,000 kits in Houston and another 16,000 untested kits in Dallas and San Antonio combined.