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Sexual assault cold cases earn legislators’ attention

By Tim Gruver
WNPA Olympia News Bureau

Olympia, Feb. 10 –– In past decades a rape case could have been dismissed because it lacked DNA evidence necessary for courts to bring a perpetrator to justice.

Today, sexual-assault kits are critical in preserving the DNA evidence left behind in an assault. The kits include a process for collecting such evidence as blood, semen, urine, hairs, nails and fibers.

Yet many kits collected with samples in more recent years were examined when law enforcement lacked the technology to properly conduct tests for reliable evidence.

A bill in the House of Representatives could dramatically reduce the nearly 6,000 kits awaiting tests and potentially resolve countless cold cases that remain unsolved.

HB 1109 would fund a new investigative team of prosecutors to test evidence from untested or partially tested kits. The team would be overseen by the attorney general’s office.

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