Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that 13 more CODIS (DNA) “hits” have been returned as untested sexual assault kits continue to be tested and uploaded to CODIS, which stands for Combined DNA Index System. The hits, like the first round of hits, are from the Southwest Missouri extended area. Those untested sexual assault kits were inventoried and shipped to the lab for testing through the Attorney General’s SAFE Kit Initiative.
Since the Attorney General’s Office and the Missouri State Highway Patrol first started receiving DNA testing results from the private lab, there have been 79 SAFE Kits eligible for CODIS upload, and 24 total CODIS hits from those uploads. The Attorney General’s Office announced back in September the first CODIS hits from the SAFE Kit Initiative. Those hits are still being referred and investigated by local law enforcement.
“The aim of the SAFE Kit Initiative is to ensure that the courage of victims who have come forward and submitted to a kit is honored. That why, through this initiative, we have worked tirelessly to inventory and ship untested sexual assault kits from across Missouri, and are now working with local law enforcement and prosecutors to potentially hold offenders accountable,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “Our proactive approach to tackling this backlog should send a clear message: we have not forgotten about victims of sexual assault in Missouri, and that we are doing everything we can to bring offenders out of the shadows and off the streets.”
As DNA results were received from the lab, the Attorney General’s Office worked with the Missouri State Highway Patrol to upload the results into the FBI’s CODIS system, a national DNA database which tracks DNA profiles of known offenders.
When a kit is CODIS upload eligible, it means that there is a usable DNA profile of someone other than the victim. Other kits are often not CODIS upload eligible because the only DNA profile found belongs to the victim, or there was insufficient DNA to produce a usable profile.
As was done with the first batch of CODIS hits, the experienced CODIS team at the Missouri State Highway Patrol lab and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office SAFE Kit team will now work to refer the results from those 13 CODIS hits to local law enforcement and local prosecutors for potential investigation and prosecution.
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office has also offered to aid local prosecutors and law enforcement in any potential prosecutions or investigations.