Maricopa County close to clearing out backlog of 4,500 rape kits

May 24, 2019, 1:30 PM
(Getty Images Photo/Scott Gries)...
(Getty Images Photo/Scott Gries)
(Getty Images Photo/Scott Gries)

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is nearly finished clearing out its backlog of about 4,500 untested rape kits.

“The backlog was identified in 2015, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has been working as kind of a leader in the movement to get through this backlog,” Amanda Steele, MCAO spokeswoman, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

Steele said 90% of the kits in the backlog have been fully tested. The 250 kits that remain are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Of the kits that have been tested, 754 resulted in a “DNA hit,” meaning DNA that could be used to identify an offender was found. Some of those results have already resulted in convictions.

“The point of this is to seek justice for victims, and so over the last four years, using the results from these kits, we’ve been able to indict 13 defendants and eight of those have already been sentenced for their crimes,” Steele said.

MCAO received a total of $5.7 million through four grants to wipe out the backlog. The money also allowed the office to hire a detective and prosecutor to work on these cases alone.

“Ending the backlog was incredibly important, but what we want the public to understand is that this is just the beginning,” Steele said.

“Now that we’re starting to get the data and results in, now the investigation portion starts.”

Steele said the next sentencing for a defendant involved in sexual assault testing is June 12.

The defendant, Michael Paladino, was accused of multiple sexual assaults in the Phoenix area, some involving juveniles.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report. 

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Coronado National Forest Photo)...
Kevin Stone

Forest officials warn visitors about shipping container wall at Arizona border

Officials are warning Coronado National Forest visitors about potential safety hazards related to shipping container border wall construction in southern Arizona.
14 hours ago
Shaqueila Hudson (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...

Woman accused of fatally stabbing boyfriend during argument in Phoenix

A woman was arrested for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend to death during an argument Tuesday in Phoenix, authorities said.
14 hours ago
(Photos via Buckeye Police Department)...

Buckeye Police boost reward to $12,000 for tips in fatal hit-and-run of 16-year-old girl

Authorities have upped the reward for tips in the fatal hit-and-run of a 16-year-old girl more than two years ago in Buckeye.
14 hours ago
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)...

Mesa police fatally shoot man who allegedly drove into patrol vehicle

Police shot and killed a man who allegedly drove into a patrol vehicle outside a Mesa convenience store early Wednesday.
14 hours ago
President Joe Biden speaks about manufacturing jobs and the economy at SK Siltron CSS, a computer c...

President Joe Biden schedules visit to Phoenix for next week

President Joe Biden will visit a Phoenix microchip plant next week to tout his economic plan, the White House announced Wednesday.
14 hours ago
(Twitter File Photo/@PhoenixPolice)...

Phoenix police fatally shoot robbery suspect after car chase

Police in Phoenix said they fatally shot an armed robbery suspect after a car chase late Tuesday night.
14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Maricopa County close to clearing out backlog of 4,500 rape kits