Virginia Beach officers bringing untested rape kits to NOVA lab for DNA testing

13News Now Laura Geller has the story.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Untested rape kits that have sat on shelves in police departments for years are finally heading to get tested for DNA evidence. This a major update to a 13News Now investigation that could bring local rape victims closer to finding justice.

Only our cameras were allowed at the Virginia Beach Police special operations area Wednesday. There, officers packed up 344 rape kits into 11 boxes.

First thing Thursday morning, they will drive the kits to the Bode Forensics laboratory in Northern Virginia.

The kits cover cases that date back decades, and go through sexual assaults in July of 2014.

13News Now was first to report Bode was chosen as the private lab with the capability of testing the thousands of rape kits listed in the state inventory.

“From a victim's standpoint, it would probably be symbolic for them that their PERK kits are going out,” explained MPO Sean Hendricks. “Hopefully, it'll bring some closure to the people who might have a case that's open.”

In the past, sexual assault victims have told us just the act of testing the kits helps them move through the healing process.

To maintain security and avoid chain of custody issues, the packed van will be in a locked and camera-monitored facility overnight before officers drive it to Northern Virginia in the morning.

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