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New testing helps solve backlog of rape cases in Palm Beach County

Posted at 5:51 PM, Nov 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-29 17:51:44-05

Sexual assault victims here in Florida are getting justice, in many instances, decades after the crime happened. Just this week the West Palm Beach Police Department made its first arrest in a backlog of rape kits now being tested. 

“Luckily with the DNA now being available especially in these older cases if there’s anything that can be done it will be done,” said WPB investigator Christian Tomas. 

This is all part of a statewide initiative in Florida that includes granting money to help departments test a backlog of rape kits from a time when either investigator didn’t have the DNA technology to rely on or had exhausted all leads. 

“Myself and 2 other detectives flew to Georgia on a case to speak to 2 different suspects that we had in cases down here,” said Tomas. 

Police say justice is now being served, while victims on the other hand, 

“They aren’t always as happy as one might think it brings up a lot of emotions,” said the director of victim and justice services Nicole Bishop.  

Bishop says many have moved away, gotten married, but all of them will never forget what happened or the day that they submitted to a rape kit. 

“I think at the time it’s done the victims feel like they are leaving a piece of themselves behind,” said Bishop. 

It’s a key piece in each case, that’s now turning the page to possible closure.  

“It’s validating and it is just something that they can hopefully utilize to pick up and move on with their life,” said Bishop. 

If you are a victim of sexual assault here in Palm Beach County and had a test done you can call 561-688-4127 to see whether or not your kit has been processed.  

You can CLICK HERE to fill out an online form to request information about your kit. 

To contact the victim services helpline: CLICK HERE or call 561-833-7273