13 kits left to test in Tennessee rape kit backlog
Thousands of sexual assault cases across Tennessee are finally moving forward.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) has tested thousands of rape kits that were wrapped up in a backlog we reported in 2015.
TBI Assistant Director of Forensic Services Division Michael Lyttle said about 14,000 rape kits from across the state were sent to private labs in 2014.
However, those private labs didn't have access to a DNA database system.
"That's essentially how you take an unknown person from a sexual assault kit or from a piece of evidence, upload their DNA to the database and determine if they match somebody who we know," Lyttle said.
TBI has received 5,820 rape kits, Lyttle said.
Each rape kit averages about 150 pages of technical data.
He said the TBI has just 13 cases left to review -- one from Chattanooga.
Lyttle said changes in procedure have help speed up the process.
"Tennessee legislature has required that law enforcement agencies submit cases in a timely manner now so they require cases to be submitted in 60 days to the TBI and we are receiving those cases in huge numbers," Lyttle said.
We asked the Chattanooga Police Department about the kit left to process from Chattanooga and if it's connected to a case we've reported on.
A spokesperson for the department said the agency prefers not to release information about a pending rape investigation.