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Untested rape kits / Photo courtesy of the Joyful Heart Foundation

This post originally appeared in the June 10 Morning Report. Get the Morning Report delivered to your inbox.

District Attorney Summer Stephan announced Wednesday not only that her office has completed DNA analysis on 2,030 untested sexual assault kits three years after it began sending them to a third-party lab for testing, but also that DNA found in one of the kits has led to new criminal charges.

Larry Gene Rivers, 57, is charged with assaulting a 13-year-old girl in El Cajon in 2014, based on evidence found in a kit that was collected after the incident but not tested until the DA launched a program to test all of the kits in local law enforcement possession.

In all, DNA results from 485 newly tested kits have been added to a national database used to solve cases. Of those, 125 of the profiles corresponded to a suspect who was known to the victim, and 42 belonged to a suspect who was not known to the victim. The DA’s office said it’s continuing to review the results for other potential investigations.

The city of San Diego did not initially send its untested kits for third-party analysis along with the rest of the county’s law enforcement outfits, arguing it wasn’t useful and opting to do so only after Voice of San Diego revealed that SDPD’s crime lab directed analysts to test the backlogged kits less rigorously than it tested kits from active cases. SDPD could finish getting results from its backlogged kits in about a year, but the results coming in now are already resulting in profiles being uploaded into the federal database.

Andrew Keatts

I'm Andrew Keatts, a managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at andrew.keatts@voiceofsandiego.org...

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