Idaho State Police Forensic Services recently released findings on evidence collected in sexual assault investigations that includes data from Idaho County law enforcement agencies.
Data came from 118 Idaho law enforcement agencies and details the number and status of sexual assault kits held by each agency. The survey was mandated by the Idaho Legislature per a state law enacted last year.
GPD elaborates on untested kits
On Grangeville Police Department’s untested kits, according to Chief Morgan Drew, two of these were investigated and determined not to be crimes, and the remaining four were all investigated as follows:
• Two suspects were convicted and testing was not needed; and
• Two were not tested because in one case the suspect admitted to having sexual intercourse with the victim and was charged with statutory rape but left the area prior to going to trial and has an active warrant for his arrest.
• The fourth kit was not tested because the suspect is known; however, while the investigation is complete the suspect is currently in prison and the case is at the prosecutor’s office waiting to be filed. The two cases that are pending prosecution are from 2004 and 2005 respectively.
“Currently we are waiting for the state to let us know when to send in the kits that fall under the guidelines of the new law for testing,” Drew said. “In larger agencies, sexual assault kits are usually purged from evidence more often due to storage space concerns. In our case, four of the six kits could have been purged because the cases were either adjudicated or determined to not be criminal in nature. The other two kits would have been retained because they still are relevant to pending cases.”
Grangeville Police Department: Seven kits are currently in its possession, of which one had been tested, four were waiting to be tested, and two were no longer being investigated as crimes.
Idaho County Sheriff’s Office: Six kits are in its possession, of which three were tested, and three the victim had expressly denied testing.
Cottonwood Police Department reported zero kits in its possession.
Sexual assault, or rape, kits consist of materials used to collect and store evidence – such as clothing fibers, hairs, saliva, blood, semen or body fluid – and are used during an exam of the victim following an incident.
House Bill 528 was signed into law last March, mandating all law enforcement agencies to track the number of sexual assault evidence kits it collects and those that go untested. Kits chosen to be tested must be delivered to the state lab within 30 days, which then has 90 days to test the kit and enter DNA data into a national database. If an agency decides not to test a kit, the county prosecutor must sign off on the decision.
Within the region:
- Kamiah Marshal’s Office: Five in its possession, of which two were tested, two waiting to be tested, and one was determined no crime was committed.
- Lewis County Sheriff’s Office: Eight in possession, of which five were tested and three were no longer being investigated as crimes.
- Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office: 10 in possession, of which three were tested and one waiting to be tested. Of the remainder, two were determined to not be crimes, and four were no longer being investigated.