In our final part of his interview, Rick talks about how Cuyahoga County is moving forward to address their backlog, and how they’re collaborating with other cities that are doing the same.
Several years ago, law enforcement in Cleveland discovered nearly 4,000 untested rape kits, dating from 1993. By 2014, every kit had been submitted for testing in accordance with Ohio’s Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative, and the testing of the first 2,326 kits yielded stunning results: 968 matches in the CODIS national DNA database, 324 investigations, and 204 criminal indictments.
ENDTHEBACKLOG had the opportunity to interview Rick Bell, the Special Investigations Division Chief in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
In Cleveland, five cold cases involving two perpetrators have been solved as a result of DNA evidence found in previously untested rape kits.
Cleveland, which is located in Cuyahoga County, has been leading the way in securing cold case convictions after submitting nearly 4,000 backlogged rape kits for testing as part of Ohio's Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative.
Our new series, Cold Case Convictions, begins, highlighting the consequences in allowing rape kits to remain untested, as well as the value DNA evidence has for bringing justice to victims of sexual assault.
Since Ohio's rape kit testing initiative began in 2011, 125 agencies have submitted 6,437 kits—about half of which have been tested.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Mike DeWine released his office’s monthly update on the progress of rape kit testing in Ohio.
Last week, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released the latest numbers on his state’s efforts to end its backlog of untested rape kits, which currently stands at 4,956.