Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $1,250,000)
The Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPDC) proposes to implement the 2023 MPDC SAKI Grant Project under Purpose Area 4. The purpose is to support the continued investigation and resolution of unsolved sexual assault-related cases through advanced DNA testing and investigative tools. MPDC received a SAKI grant under Purpose Area 4 in 2019 and has submitted over 100 cases for new and advanced testing, yielding significant successes. MPDC is eager to continue this mission for 2024 and beyond.
The District of Columbia has no known backlog of unsubmitted Sexual Assault Kits (SAKs). Nevertheless, MPDC has hundreds of unsolved sexual assault-related cases with SAKs and other evidence where additional testing could yield leads. MPDC also has numerous cases with DNA profiles in CODIS with no suspect hits. With the 2019 grant, project activities yielded dozens of DNA profiles that were entered into CODIS and public genealogy databases. In addition, 2019 grant project activities led to case-to-case links and the identification and arrest of offenders including serial offenders.
MPDC project activities for the 2023 SAKI Grant will include continuing to: inventory cases for further testing, investigation and solvability; inventory cases eligible for forensic genetic genealogy testing; submit evidence for testing; follow all generated leads; interview victims, witnesses and suspects; and travel where necessary for further investigation. Expected outcomes include generating leads, identifying suspects and persons of interest, identifying serial offenders and linking cases to each other. Expected outcomes will also include closing cases administratively or with arrest and then building and strengthening these cases for successful prosecution.
Subrecipient activities include applying their expertise in advanced DNA methodologies to collaborate on evidence testing plans. Their activities will also include locating, packaging and outsourcing evidence for testing and facilitating CODIS entry. The intended beneficiaries include the victims and their loved ones as well as the community as a whole. While the service area is the District of Columbia, the expected outcomes will benefit the safety of the D.C. region as many perpetrators offend across jurisdictional lines. With the cost of advanced technology platforms and the DC Department of Forensic Sciences (DFS)’s limited capacity to utilize these platforms, grant funds are essential to assist MPDC in resolving these cases. MPDC and its multidisciplinary working group partners are strongly committed to utilizing a trauma-informed, victim-centered model in solving these egregious crimes, seeking justice for victims, holding offenders accountable and making the community safer.