(Memphis) For the first time, prosecutors said testing more than 10,000 rape kits should help them find serial rapists.
The city also said it needs more money to get all those kits tested.
“These individuals who commit these crimes rarely do it one time, and one time only,” said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.
Weirich said there’s a good chance serial rapists are walking free, and testing 14,000 rape kits should help catch some of them, but she admits she doesn’t know how many there are, or how long it will take.
What we know is WREG first told you about the problem four years ago, but the city didn’t admit there were thousands of untested rape kits at the Memphis Police Department until late last year.
Now, Weirich promises justice.
“If it’s one or more, we are going to make sure they have the justice they deserve, and the community has the justice they deserve,” said Weirich.
Today’s press conference at Memphis City Hall, WREG found out the city has the largest known backlog in the country.
Memphis A C Wharton announced it will take another five years to test the remaining 10,000 rape kits and will cost more than $6 million, because the TBI said a thorough test costs $500.
“We will be asking the city council for an additional $1 million at the February 18 meeting,” said Wharton.
Wharton wouldn’t answer whether or not he would increase taxes to raise the money. He said right now, he’s hoping non-profits, and the state pay the rest.
Today, at a state committee meeting, lawmakers questioned the TBI on whether they should give an extra $2 million to the state’s rape kit funds.
“It’s a situation where we all got to pitch in. I guarantee we will do everything we can to help,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn.
Wednesday, the TBI told lawmakers that in 2003, it let every city know there was extra money to test rape kits, and the cities should send them in.
With 14,000 untested kits, Memphis never did.