Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,500,000)
The Texas Ranger Division (TRD) of the Texas Department of Public Safety (TXDPS) seeks funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI), under Purpose Area Four, to hire two fulltime investigators to investigate and prosecute cold case sexual assault cases in Texas, as well as hire a fulltime grant specialist to assist in grant reporting and budget keeping activities. Furthermore, the TRD seeks funding to assist the TXDPS CODIS Laboratory with the cost of performing Familial Searches on identified criteria cases being investigated under the SAKI Grant. As of 2022, the State of Texas has identified 24 sexually related homicides and over 300 sexual assaults cases where there is a single source forensic profile in CODIS that have not been associated with a known individual (unknown DNA).
The Texas Rangers are an elite law enforcement organization that specialize in investigating complex criminal cases and provide assistance to numerous local law enforcement agencies across the state to include 254 counties. Due to the current demands and caseloads of the field Ranger, the extent of the viable criteria cases which have been identified from the TRD’s SAKI efforts under its 2019 grant have yet to be pursued for investigative leads with use of Advanced DNA testing.
Funds obtained through this Purpose Area 4 grant will assist the TRD by funding two retired Texas Ranger investigators and a grant specialist to continue the investigation and prosecution of these cold case sexual assaults and homicide. The TXDPS proposes the following strategies to meet this goal:
(1) Provide pertinent paid salaries, overtime, and travel to two SAKI Investigators to aggressively investigate new leads in cold cases that are developed as the result of Advanced DNA testing methods.
(2) Fund hiring a grant specialist to assist with grant related activities and provide administrative support for the two SAKI Cold Case Unit Investigators.
(3) Continue the CODIS Study of Sexual Assaults of unknown offender profiles in the state’s CODIS database to identify viable criteria cases for further investigative efforts.
(4) Investigate 24 sexually related female homicides with a single source profile in CODIS and begin the case selection of identified criteria sexual assaults.
(5) Reimburse TXDPS CODIS Lab 9 Familial Searches cases per year for three years.
(6) Lease two vehicles for investigators to utilize for three years.