by: Richard Elliot Updated:
ATLANTA - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is making progress on a massive backlog of rape kits and has already identified 88 suspects in those cases.
Only Channel 2 Action News was there as the GBI briefed key lawmakers about its progress.
House Speaker David Ralston and other Georgia lawmakers toured the GBI’s crime lab Monday to find out more about the kits.
Georgia had more than 5,000 kits backlogged for as long as 10 years.
After the legislature passed a law requiring testing, the GBI started processing them last summer.
Since then, they’ve tested 979 kits, and from those, they got 88 hits on a national DNA database, meaning they’ve identified 88 suspects in those cases.
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Ralston, who helped push the law through the state house, says this is a big step to getting justice for victims.
"It’s really, really gratifying to know that we can really look victims in the eye now and tell them that ... we’re serious about bringing justice,” Ralston said.
State Rep. Scott Holcomb wrote the bill requiring the testing.
He says it’s just as important to make sure that there’s never a backlog again.
“I’m very encouraged,” Holcomb said. “We know that this problem is going to be solved.”
GBI director Vernon Keenan says they expect to have 95 percent of the rape kits tested by June 2019.
“We’re bringing justice to sexual-assault victims and law enforcement and prosecutors are very thankful, and I know that the victims are,” Kennan said.
The crime lab also has to test new rape kits, along with DNA from other crimes, too.
We have new information about how the GBI is reducing the state's large number of backlogged Sexual Assault Kits. pic.twitter.com/CxSpC1CttY— Richard Elliot (@RElliotWSB) July 24, 2017
© 2017 Cox Media Group.
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