When I started this blog, I was under the impression that there must have been some kind of physical evidence collected at the very beginning of the investigation; I assumed (not unreasonably, I think) that when Jane Doe was taken to the hospital that there would have been a rape kit completed, and I tried to find out why it had not been used at trial.
Unfortunately I was unable to get a hold of the police report, and as far as anyone knows, there was no evidence of this kind taken. However, Harris County has been storing thousands of untested rape kits for years, and has only recently gotten around to clearing the backlog.
I think it’s great that it’s finally done, and that the DA’s office is using the evidence collected to put rapists away. I still wonder, though, if there isn’t a kit somewhere from Coy’s case. While it’s great to compare the DNA to the national database to find matches nationwide, I wonder if the District Attorney will see fit to notify those that were convicted that there may be new evidence available in their cases; are they even testing the kits that belong to cases which have already been decided? Will the defense attorneys be notified? What will be done if the DNA from the kit does not match the DNA of the individual convicted of the crime?
"Though the technology to analyze DNA has been around for decades, hundreds of thousands of sexual assault kits all over the country went untested because investigators didn’t consider them important."
The thought that a kit could be shelved just because an investigator decided it would be is extremely unnerving; not only were rapists able to continue their crimes, but innocent people may have been convicted because no steps were taken that could have proven their innocence.