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FLINT, Mich — In 2015, between 230 and 250 untested rape kits were found in the city of Flint.
The police chief at the time, Jim Tolbert, said authorities in the past dropped the ball.
"When we were alerted to all of these kits that had fallen through the cracks so to speak, we got right on it," said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton.
Leyton said in the last five years, they've been able to process all 736 backlogged rape kits, sending them to the lab.
A grant from the New York District Attorney's office helped cover the cost, he said.
But the work is far from over. Those kits have now have to be tested at the lab.
That's where a $1.6 million grant from the Department of Justice comes in. The SAKI grant was renewed in October 2019, and officially went through earlier this week.
"The SAKI grant pays for a couple of detectives, someone to work in the property room, a prosecutor to charge, and then a victim advisor," said Flint Police Chief Phil Hart.
Prosecutor Leyton says they're doing the best they can with limited resources.
"I would love to have a half dozen detectives working on this, and three or four prosecutors," said Leyton. "We could achieve justice in a much swifter manner. But you play the hand you're dealt."
Their efforts are slowly paying off. Leyton said they've charged 89 people with sexual assault crimes, resolved 42 of those cases, and have 4 cases pending.
"That was one of the biggest reasons we needed to do this," said Leyton. "So we could give victims closure."
The SAKI grant is good for another three years.
Leyton expects to be working on the backlogged rape kits for another five years.