Julie Humphreys, Public Safety Communication Manager, 509.625.5868
Monday, June 7, 2021 at 10:51 a.m.
SPD provides new avenues for victims of older sexual assault cases to reach out for help in solving or resolving their cases
The Spokane Police Department recently started reviewing cold case sexual assaults and has now set up a phone line and email to aid in investigations. The review is under the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Project which calls for testing of thousands of rape kits across the state backlogged for submission to Washington State Patrol labs. These cases may include sexual assault reports filed July 15, 2015, and prior. The Spokane Police Department is working with the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and Victim Advocates with Lutheran Community Services Northwest (LCSNW).
Approximately 1,000 of the 1,500-plus kits submitted by SPD have been tested and results returned. Detectives are currently analyzing each case to determine which ones are likely solvable or may result in a meaningful conclusion, and which warrant closing out. Even when testing results in a CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) hit - meaning DNA evidence matches a profile registered in the federal database – there’s no guarantee a case will be solved, but it may just be the missing link.
Such a DNA match recently helped SPD detectives find a suspect in a 2012 rape. The man is in prison for a previous rape but before he was incarcerated, he allegedly committed another rape. The DNA match provided evidence to resume the investigation and may result in an additional rape charge.
It is the mission and goal of the project, to seek a just resolution for survivors of sexual assault. Each case has a unique fact pattern, and there are numerous considerations to be understood regarding this program. Some of the potential courses of actions on a given case are as follows:
In all of these cases, regardless of the ability to pursue criminal charges, the survivor can be offered assistance from the confidential, trauma-informed victim advocates at LCSNW, including Walker, their Courthouse Facility Dog. Survivors also have the option of declining assistance from LCSNW.
SPD is asking anyone who wishes to inquire about his or her case, to place a call to the listed phone number, and/or send an email to the listed email address. The survivor is asked to leave their name and a contact phone number. An investigator and/or victim advocate will return a phone call to verify identity, answer questions and discuss options moving forward.
SPD encourages survivors to initiate contact, even if, in the mind of the survivor they may not wish to pursue criminal charges.
Spokane Police Department: call 509-625-4240 or email email@example.com .
LCSNW Victim Advocates: call or text the 24/7 Sexual Assault Support Line, 509-624-7273