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Ventura County Cold Case and Sexual Assault Investigation

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $2,500,000)

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Forensic Services Bureau (FSB) submits this proposal in partnership with the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office (VCDA) and all seven local law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in Ventura County. The FSB seeks funds to advance Ventura County’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (VCSAKI). Additional funding is needed to further the goals of testing every unsubmitted SAK and providing closure to as many victims of cold case sexual assaults as is possible.
Ventura County has a greater number of unsubmitted SAKs than previously anticipated. The FSB received a SAKI award in FY 2021 premised on an estimate of 1,000 unsubmitted SAKs. After conducting an exhaustive inventory process, the FSB and LEAs have determined that they are in possession of more than 2,900 unsubmitted SAKs. Testing these additional SAKs will require forensic and investigative resources beyond those provided by the prior award. The FSB will utilize this new award to fund additional SAK testing utilizing a contracted private laboratory. The FSB will also add an additional forensic scientist to VCSAKI. An additional forensic scientist will boost the FSB’s ability to process SAKs for outsourced testing and upload suspected offender profiles generated to CODIS. Funding would also add an additional investigator to VCSAKI. The original SAKI award allowed VCDA to form a Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit (CCSAU) consisting of a prosecutor and a district attorney investigator. Adding an investigator will boost the unit’s ability to investigate the increased number of CODIS hits anticipated given the rise in the number of unsubmitted SAKs. Further, an additional investigator will allow CCSAU to investigate cold case sexual assaults not associated with an unsubmitted SAK. Through this proposal, the FSB and its partners aim to better serve sexual assault victims.

Date Created: September 25, 2023