Leaders in Wayne County announced Tuesday morning the launch of a new campaign to help gather the funds to test the thousands of untested rape kits in Wayne County.
The new campaign is called Enough SAID, standing for Enough Sexual Assault in Detroit. The campaign was formed to help fund rape kit testing, as well as fund the investigation and prosecution of the criminals still on the street.
Back in 2009, more than 11,000 untested rape kits were discovered in a storage unit at the Detroit Police Department.
Since then, 2,000 kits have been tested through funding obtained by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. Of those tests, 670 matches were found in the national DNA database. These matches link to other crimes committed in 26 other states and the District of Columbia.
"One-hundred-eighty-eight serial rapists were identified, and this is just from 2,000 [kits] of the overall 11,000. We have 15 convictions so far, and many, many investigations and prosecutions that are waiting to be had," says Worthy.
Officials provided a sample of some of the resulting convictions:
· Reginald Holland -Serving a life sentence; abducted and raped four women before being identified through DNA testing.
· Shelly Andre Brooks -Serving a life sentence; raped and murdered seven women.
· Gabriel Cooper - Serving a sentence of 30-70 years; raped three women.
· Eric Eugene Wilkes - Serving a sentence of 32-75 years; raped four women.
· Deshawn Starks - Serving a sentence of 45-90 years; raped four women.
The issue of untested rape kits is not exclusive to Detroit. Across the country, more than 400,000 rape kits are untested. For example, Memphis has more than 12,000 untested kits and is also undergoing efforts to reduce its backlog.
If you want to help fund the testing of these rape kits, or to learn more about the initiative, visit www.EnoughSaidDetroit.org. The campaign is a collaboration between Michigan Women's Foundation, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office and the Detroit Crime Commission.