The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department this week was awarded an $837,342 federal Justice Department grant to help end a backlog of sexual assault cold cases.
About 600 kits that were processed more than 10 years ago will be re-tested at an accredited lab using new DNA-testing technology. Many date back to the 1990s.
"We don’t give up on cases and we don’t give up on getting justice for survivors," says Lt. Melanie Peacock of CMPD's Violent Crime Sexual Assault Unit. "We have a cold case unit for sex assaults and homicides. I think we have 2,800 sex assault cold cases we are working through. We don’t stop till we get some resolution.
She says some of those 600 victims of sexual assault have already called CMPD to see how the grant funding affects their cases.
The grant will also be used to hire a former assistant district attorney. That will be a part-time position dedicated to preparing cold cases for prosecution.
In addition, CMPD received a Justice Department grant of $331,814 to help fund four existing crime lab positions.
Peacock says CMPD still has about 200 sexual assault kits from current cases waiting to be tested.