18 rape kits from Fargo have gone untested for over a year; police chief ‘not satisfied’ – InForum
, 2022-10-07 13:06:00,
FARGO — More than a dozen sexual assault kits from Fargo have been awaiting DNA testing at the North Dakota crime lab for more than a year, a revelation that has one advocate wondering how many more victims from across the state are waiting for answers in their cases.
The Fargo Police Department told The Forum it had 75 sexual assault nurse examination (SANE) kits at the state crime lab that needed to be tested as of Thursday, Oct. 6. Of those kits, 18 are more than a year old, including one dating back to Jan. 13, 2021.
“I would say as a chief, I’m not satisfied with the turnaround on DNA,” Fargo Police Chief David Zibolski told The Forum in a Tuesday interview. “That’s not appropriate, and I know that’s an issue that’s on the attorney general’s plate.”
Reached by phone on Friday, Attorney General Drew Wrigley said it was the first time he heard about Fargo’s 18 kits waiting that long. It was not immediately clear, as of publication time, how many kits from across the state have gone untested for more than a year at the crime lab.
Wrigley noted the state lab is backlogged in testing evidence in general, including sexual assault kits, due to staffing cuts dating back to 2017, when his predecessor, Wayne Stenehjem, oversaw it. Wrigley, who became attorney general after Stenehjem’s death in January, said he has plans to restructure the lab under the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation and seek a budget that will better fund…
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