Attorney General Laxalt Announces 83 Percent of Backlogged Sexual Assault Kits Have Been Sent for DNA Testing, Resulting in at Least 12 Arrests Statewide

August 2, 2018

Semi-Annual Progress Report Details Headway Made to Reduce Nevada’s Decades-Old Sexual Assault Kit Backlog


    Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt released a report sent to Nevada’s Legislature chronicling the progress of his statewide Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Working Group. The Working Group, which AG Laxalt founded and chairs, is a regularly convening group formed in March of 2015 to develop strategies and best practices to complete the analysis of untested sexual assault kits. The group collectively addresses policy matters associated with testing the kits for local governments including: victim notification, statewide training, resources for victims, testing of sexual assault kits collected in connection with a crime, entering all eligible DNA profiles into CODIS, following up on investigative leads, identification of subjects, prosecuting cases associated with these kits, collecting data for academic research, and identifying statewide resources, processes and legislation to prevent future backlogs.

      “Behind each untested sexual assault kit is a survivor–many of whom have waited decades for answers from law enforcement,” said Laxalt. “As attorney general, I believe it’s my duty to be the voice for these survivors, and have worked tirelessly at it. I am so proud that 83 percent of the nearly 8,000 untested sexual assault kits in Nevada’s backlog have been sent for testing. Since I took office in 2015, we have made tremendous progress in our pursuit of justice through the forensic testing of these kits. There can be no doubt that we have more to do to fix a disturbing problem that took decades to create, but because of the hard work and dedication of public servants in my office and the local forensic laboratories, Nevada is now equipped to fix a problem that has plagued our great state for far too long.”

        The semi-annual report provides historical background on the State’s backlog of nearly 8,000 untested sexual assault kits, a summary of the progress made under AG Laxalt’s leadership, and an update on significant developments within the initiative between January and June of 2018. The report also includes statistics on the number of backlogged kits tested, DNA profiles logged, Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) hits obtained, arrest warrants issued, arrests made, and prosecutions initiated by county district attorneys.

          Highlights of the progress of Nevada’s Sexual Assault Kit Backlog Working Group include:

            •  As of June 30th, 6,367 out of Nevada’s statewide 7,645 untested backlogged kits were sent to labs for testing, representing an 83 percent completion rate;
            • 4,871 of these kits have completed testing thus far, representing a 63 percent completion rate;
            • 466 DNA Matches have been identified; and
            • At least 12 arrests have been made statewide by local law enforcement.
            • In northern Nevada, 584 kits have been sent out for testing, with 372 kits having completed testing. 59 DNA matches have been identified.
            • In southern Nevada, 5,783 kits have been sent out for testing, with 4,499 kits having completed testing. 407 DNA matches have been identified.

              Nevada’s sexual assault kit backlog has existed since the 1980s. AG Laxalt’s report was submitted to the Legislature in response to a letter of intent dated September 29, 2017 from the Senate Committee on Finance and the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means. A copy of the report is attached.