Orange County DA Says It Has Cleared a 30-Year Backlog of Untested Sexual Assault Kits

Image of Sexual Assault kit sealed by sticker reading "integrity seal."
Orange County District Attorney's office says it cleared a 30-year backlog of sexual assault kits.Getty

“Every one of these untested sexual assault kits represents a victim who deserves justice,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer.

The Orange County District Attorney’s office has "cleared" a 30-year county-wide backlog of untested sexual assault kits which has led to the filing of criminal charges in six cold cases, according to a statement by the office released on June 28.

“Every one of these untested sexual assault kits represents a victim who deserves justice,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. 

The District Attorney's Office established Orange County Sexual Assault Forensic Endeavor (OC SAFE) in 2016 with a $1.86 million grant from the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative ("SAKI") to inventory thousands of sexual assault kits and determine which kits have not yet been analyzed.

Out of the 6,480 inventoried in Orange County for the OC SAFE program, 3,791 sexual assault kits were found to have never been tested. After examining those kits, 1,705 were found to be qualified for testing by the Orange County Crime Lab.

“Sexual assault kits most likely to lead to a filed criminal case were tested first,” the release stated.

Kimberly Edds, a spokesperson for the DA's office, told CBS News that various law enforcement organizations in the county gathered the kits, the earliest dating back to 1977.

Hundreds of new DNA profiles were uploaded into law enforcement databases since they say they "cleared" the backlog.

The district attorney's office says one case involved a woman who was raped at gunpoint in 1993 in Stanton by a man who falsely identified himself as a police officer. The woman was raped in a car while on a date with another man after the couple was forced to drive the man to a different location. The couple was then robbed of credit cards, cash, and driver's licenses, and their car was stolen.

"[The suspect] told the couple he knew their addresses from the licenses, and he would kill them if they reported him," the DA said in the statement.

DNA from the rape kit led to a suspect, Michael Ray Armijo, who was found guilty last year of two felony charges of kidnapping in order to commit robbery with enhancements for the personal use of a firearm, according to the release. According to the DA’s office, Armijo could not bring a rape charge against him because the statute of limitations had expired, but he was given the maximum possible sentence of 24 years to life in state prison.

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