SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Attorney General Eric Schmitt is seeing the first results of his office’s SAFE Kit initiative, which aims to thin the state of Missouri’s backlog of untested sexual assault kits.
On Wednesday, Sept. 9, Schmitt spoke with KOLR10, saying his office’s SAFE Kit initiative has officially moved to the next phase. The Missouri AG also provided some of the initiative’s earliest results.
According to Schmitt, of the 1,200 untested kits his office sent to a private testing facility, 51 came back from the Southwest Missouri area. Of those 51 returned tests, 16 are eligible for processing through the state’s Combined DNA Index System (or CODIS). And, finally, of those 16 tests eligible for processing, 11 returned results linking back to an offender.
The FBI says CODIS is a tool federal, state, and local labs use to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically, thereby linking serial violent crimes to each other and to known offenders.
As part of the initiative, Springfield agencies submitted 51 untested rape kits in December 2019. It was the first of 6,000 backlogged, untested rape kits across the state to be sent to a private lab for testing. 320 of those 6,000 were at SPD, according to Chief Paul Williams.
The Attorney General could not identify these 11 possible offenders. Now that results have been matched, Springfield investigators will work with victim advocates and prosecutors to determine the best course of action going forward for victims.