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4,000 Untested Rape Kits and Counting

Sgt. Rebecca Linder/Flickr

There are more than four thousand untested rape kits awaiting testing in Iowa. The Iowa Attorney General’s Crime Victim Assistance Division Director Janelle Melohn has been conducting an audit of untested kits since February. 

As of the end of June, we have almost an 80% response rate. We have 381 active law enforcement agencies in our state, and just short of 80% have responded to us. We have just over a total of 4,000 kits that have been inventoried thus far," she says. 

The Attorney General's office began auditing sexual assault kits which contain everything from DNA swabs to clothing and finger nail clippings in February. Once the audit is complete, her office will begin testing as many untested kits as they have funding for. 

“We’ve seen departments undertake this very same thing. About half of them won’t reap any further evidence or information than we already had prior to undergoing that testing, but of the half remaining, what we’ve seen is that 30 percent of those will result in hits," she explains. 

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Malone. John Godar, President of the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association; Paul Bush, DNA Criminalist Supervisor at the DCI Crime Laboratory; and Kerri True-Funk, Associate Director for the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, also join the discussion. 

Lindsey Moon served as IPR's Senior Digital Producer - Music and the Executive Producer of IPR Studio One's All Access program. Moon started as a talk show producer with Iowa Public Radio in May of 2014. She came to IPR by way of Illinois Public Media, an NPR/PBS dual licensee in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and Wisconsin Public Radio, where she worked as a producer and a general assignment reporter.
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River