Welcome to the Huntington, WV Sexual Assault Kit Initiative website - a project of the Huntington Police Department, Marshall University Forensic Science Center, West Virginia State Police Crime Lab, CONTACT Rape Crisis Center, the local FBI Victim Specialist and the Cabell County Prosecutor’s Office.
Beginning in late 2013, the Huntington Police Department collaborated with the Marshall University Forensic Science Center to begin a project aimed at identifying and screening untested sexual assault kits in the police department’s custody. Awareness and education, federal grant funds, and technological advances have combined to allow for testing on a broad scale. Nationwide, agencies are moving forward to eliminate the issue of untested sexual assault kits. The Huntington Police Department is the first agency in the State of West Virginia to do so.
At the Huntington Police Department, 245 untested kits, collected between 1995 and 2013, were identified and have been successfully screened for DNA profiles. The DNA profiles were then entered into a national database (CODIS) by the West Virginia State Police Lab in attempt to identify the source(s) of the unknown DNA. Only with the consent of the victim, the results will be analyzed to determine the potential for criminal prosecution through partnerships with the Cabell County Prosecutors Office. As of August 2016, the project has yielded many investigative leads and has led to the indictment of a serial offender.
We at the Huntington Police Department realize the potential emotional impact to the victims and the community of re-opening cases that may be more than a decade old. We also realize that victims and their families could have many questions. We have taken steps to ensure the issue of untested kits is a thing of the past. CONTACT Rape Crisis Center, a local community based advocacy agency as well as a Victim Specialist from the Federal Bureau of Investigation will assist victims with questions, information and support.
This has been a monumental project in its scope. This is why we have partnered with the listed agencies to provide their expertise and services. We at the Huntington Police Department wish to thank them for their efforts to help us make victims of sexual assault a priority. The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative is but one way we strive to serve our community and partner with agencies with like-minded goals.
If you are a victim and would like further information about this project, please contact us or an advocate via the links below.
Sergeant Stephen M. Compton
Huntington Police Department