LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- In just a matter of days, investigators should have the first results from the backlogged sexual assault kits, according to Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.
General Beshear spoke at the SAFE Summit in Frankfort Tuesday, Sep. 13. The seminar included more than 150 police, prosecutors and victim’s advocates as they plan for dealing with results from the backlogged sexual assault tests.
Kentucky was one of several states to report thousands of tests had been sitting in police storage units never being investigated for DNA or other evidence that could crack the cases.
But within days some of the first results are expected in the hands of police. Lt. Carolyn Nunn of the Louisville Metro Police Department said she thinks 259 are due in the first batch of results.
Lieutenant Nunn sat on a panel at the SAFE Summit.
Those who will investigate and prosecute the backlogged tests focused on the techniques they'll need to clear the more than 3,000 cases that have left victims ignored and without justice for years. The shameful reality sent a message to Kentucky lawmakers who approved funding to clear the backlog and legislation to prevent it from happening again.
"It's something we ought to be ashamed of but, in the end, it's something that ought to give us the motivation and the urgency that, when these kits come back, we know that these folks shouldn't wait one more minute for justice,” Attorney General Andy Beshaer said. “We should be ready to go on their case, their case should be our top priority and we should secure that justice that they deserve."
General Beshear said the first kits will arrive back to investigators in the middle of this month. Those with DNA will be run through databases and investigators will continue to work other avenues to crack those cases without DNA hits.
Lt. Nunn said she hopes LMPD may begin cracking cases in the next few weeks as the results pour in.
“We're hoping we'll get some really good CODIS hits back and that it might even be a serial (rapist) that we've already maybe imprisoned already,” said Lt. Nunn. “So, we're very hopeful.”
At LMPD, Lieutenant Nunn said, that preparation involves a victim-centered approach, hiring a sex crimes case manager a victim's advocate and preparing cold case guidelines.
Jenna McNeal is a survivor who is excited that results are due back any day. She’s also excited about the message those results send to predators still free to strike again.
"Most rapists are serial rapists,” McNeal said. “And so, yes, those who are have gone on with this and have not been caught. They should be afraid, certainly, they should be.”