going above and beyond
- Feb 19, 2001
She leads effort to test abandoned rape kits
By Mario Garcia, Kristen Powers and Jessica Hopper
Wayne County, Mich., Prosecutor Kym Worthy has seen her share of grisly crime, but even she was shocked by a discovery in 2009 at a former police storage warehouse. There, stacks of dusty boxes were found on the shelves of the warehouse. The boxes contained thousands of untested rape kits, some decades old.
“What we were potentially looking at, at that time, was over 10,000 rape kits, representing over 10,000 cases where women had reported, whose lives and what had happened to them was sitting on a shelf and nobody cared. I was shocked, and I think I was kind of stunned -- and not too much stuns me,” Worthy told Kate Snow in an interview airing Friday at 10 p.m. ET/9 CT on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy
Worthy and her team would ultimately discover 11,303 untested kits. Rape kits are what hospitals use to collect DNA evidence from a victim in hopes that police can test it and identify a rapist. Victims have to undergo a thorough exam that can take hours. The DNA evidence is often the most important evidence used to convict in a rape case.