JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Thousands of victims who have used sexual assault kit victims in Missouri are still waiting for justice.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt spoke about getting justice for rape victims in St. Louis.
“Nobody really knew how many untested kits out there,” Schmitt said. “Someone estimated there was around 5,000 and we discovered there were more than that. There were over 6,000.”
Kits that weren’t only found on shelves from police departments.
“When we did the inventory it wasn’t just law enforcement agencies that had you know the Springfield Police Department or St. Louis PD that had the kits, it was also hospitals that had them in their evidence room,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt’s office announced in early 2019 his office plans to have 6,000 untested rape kits tested.
Schmitt said, “We want to honor the courage of the victims that come forward to make sure those kits don’t sit on the shelf like they’ve been sitting.”
According to Schmitt, the process is being paid for by a $2.8 million grant which pays for the tracking, inventory and testing for 1,250 kits.
Earlier this week, law enforcement agencies from around O’Fallon handed over their kits to be tested in a Virginia lab.
Schmitt said, “We didn’t want to overburden the Highway Patrol and slow this process down”
With already a handful of events like complete, Schmitt hopes justice will be served soon.
“Very soon we hope to get initial results back from the kits that were sent off earlier this year and as we get those results back we will work with local authorities then to move forward on prosecutions.”
But what’s the plan to make sure this doesn’t happen to victims in Missouri again?
“Moving forward we have a streamline approach to this so that again these kits as victims submit these kits that they are ultimately getting to a lab for testing as quickly as possible,” Schmitt said.
By the end of this week there will be around a total 1,000 tests sent off to Virginia for testing.