RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — About a third of Nevada's 7,500 untested sexual assault kits have been processed or are currently being tested, according to the Attorney General's office.
In Northern Nevada, 254 of the 1,179 untested rape kits have been sent off for testing, first assistant Attorney General Wesley Duncan told state lawmakers at a budget meeting Monday.
Reno Police Sergeant Curtis Lampert said RPD has gotten 30 rape kits back for crimes they were investigating. The department hasn't made any arrests because of the 10 DNA matches, but detectives are using the new information on one active case.
Southern Nevada has received nearly 1,000 kits back from testing, resulting in 58 matches, 11 warrants and eight arrests, Duncan said.
A few different bills have been introduced in the 2017 legislative session to prevent another rape kit backlog from building up.
Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson and Senate majority leader Aaron Ford, both Democrats, are sponsoring a bill that would require law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits to a crime lab within 30 days. The Attorney General's office is sponsoring a similar bill.
"I really hope that women understand, that for so many of them who have submitted a test and felt like it fell into a big black hole ... I hope they don't feel forgotten," Benitez-Thompson said.
Benitez-Thompson said she will likely amend Assembly Bill 97 to remove a provision requiring the crime lab to test rape kits within 180 days. Both the Las Vegas Metro Police crime lab and the Washoe County Sheriff's Office crime lab average over 200 days to test kits for new cases.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Becky Harris is bringing Senate BIll 169, which would establish a sexual assault kit tracking program.
Duncan said he anticipates all untested rape kits in Southern Nevada will be processed by December 2018.
Local officials are also working to address the backlog. Washoe County commissioners on Tuesday approved more than $400,000 to fund testing of sexual assault kits in northern Nevada.