It took two years and millions of dollars, but thousands of sexual assault evidence kits collected in Austin and stuck in backlog have finally been tested.
The Austin Police Department confirmed it completed the testing in late September.
“Now with this evidence, the city can hopefully start putting cases together, can find people who have been repeat offenders of sexual violence and can hopefully send cases to the district attorney’s office for prosecution,” said Austin City Council Member Greg Casar.
Testing was so delayed that some of the evidence dated back to the 1990s. Concern about the testing intensified in 2016 when APD’s forensic lab shut down after an audit by the Texas Forensic Science Commission. The lab has since been opened, but is being run by the state.
To clear out the backlog, the APD sent thousands of evidence kits to several other cities for testing, including Salt Lake City and Dallas.
In an email, a department spokesperson said APD receives roughly 40 new evidence kits a month and is currently keeping up with demand.