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12,000 Detroit rape kits go unexamined

By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI –

Officials told state lawmakers Thursday that Detroit Police forensics personnel has neglected 12,000 rape examination kits dating back to the mid-1990s.

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Democratic state Representative Richard Leblanc says he found out about the misplaced rape kits a couple of weeks ago. He says the kits were discovered in an unprocessed and unrecorded box, and he says that's unacceptable. But Leblanc also knows there isn't enough time or resources to process the kits.

"If we took the four private labs that operate in the state of Michigan and asked them to work every minute of the day for the next four years, we would just about be able to catch up with those kits only," Leblanc says.

Leblanc says the women and children who submitted to the rape examinations did not know the kits have been neglected.

He thinks state officials would be wise to pour more money into processing forensics evidence, because it produces tangible results. But he knows that it is hard to find surplus money right now to deal with the needs of the state.

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