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SLPD rape kits in backlog are not holding up cases

SARANAC LAKE — Saranac Lake Police Department Chief James Joyce said Thursday that the three sexual assault evidence kits from his department awaiting testing at the State Police forensic laboratory are not needed to make any arrests.

Of the six kits (commonly known as rape kits) his department sent to the lab — four in 2017, one in 2018 and one in 2018 — three are still caught in the lab’s 88% kit testing backlog. However, he said the cases those kits relate to have moved ahead or ended without the test results.

“We don’t have any unsolved rape cases for which the kit is the only evidence,” Joyce said.

He did not provide details on these cases, but indicated some of them have resulted in arrests and in some the victim may have decided not to proceed with charges.

Joyce said it would be good for the state to provide more funding and staffing for the lab.

“Any backlog is trouble,” he said. “It is amazing that they provide analysis of each and every kit.”

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