Rape kits found untested at Hollywood PD - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Rape kits found untested at Hollywood PD

Posted: Updated:

7News has learned the Hollywood Police Department has uncovered nearly 100 rape kits that have gone untested for years. So what does this discovery mean for victims? Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case with the exclusive.

WSVN -- Administered immediately after a sexual assault, a rape kit like this can be invasive for a victim but vital to bringing the attacker to justice.

The kit is useless though if it is not tested for the rapist's DNA. And 7News has learned 94 rape kits sat in a refrigerator at the Hollywood Police station for years, and never tested.

Carmel: "How long have some of these rape kits been sitting?"

Chief Frank Fernandez: "As far back as we could tell, all the way to 2005."

Carmel: "That's a very long time."

Chief Frank Fernandez: "It is. It's an alarming amount of time. It's an alarming amount of rape kits."

Frank Fernandez recently took over as Hollywood's top cop. The chief says he immediately ordered an audit including the property unit where the rape kits were discovered.

Chief Frank Fernandez: "These are things that happened way before I got here, it's been, as I can best tell a lack of proper procedures and maybe a systemic problem."

The rape kits are supposed to be brought to the Broward Sheriff's Office crime lab for analysis.

A DNA profile can be drawn from things like hair or fluids left on a victim. The information is then entered into an FBI database to see if it matches the DNA of known criminals.

So far 24 of the 94 kits have been identified as top priorities and brought to the lab. Others will follow. The chief says arrests have already been made in some of the 94 cases. But in others victims may be told about the delay. And that no doubt will come as troubling news.

Sandra Vazquez: "What we've seen recently is an increase in the violence of the attacks. More aggression, more injuries."

The delicate nature of assisting sexual assault victims in Broward County is handled at the Nancy J. Cotterman Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Sandra Vazquez: "We take the victim's saliva sample, and that's to obtain her DNA."

Here they undergo very personal exams used to preserve forensic evidence that can link the attacked to the attacker.

Carmel: "How difficult can that be for a woman who has already been violated?"

Sandra Vazquez: "It is very difficult, that's why rape goes underreported a lot."

94 victims in Hollywood did their part by reporting it and endured the examination after only to have the evidence ignored.

Chief Frank Fernandez: "I can not account for what happened in the past, I can only account for my point, going forward. And I'm going to ensure that that never happens again."

The questions now, will the kits that are finally being tested take criminals off the street? And did the delay give any of them the opportunity to rape again?

  • Help Me HowardMore>>

  • Gap Insurance Didn't Cover Gap

    Gap Insurance Didn't Cover Gap

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:24 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:24:46 GMT
    Did you know that many cars are worth less than the money owed on the loan? It's common, which is also why gap insurance is common to protect the car owner, but what happens when the gap won't cover the gap? It's why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    Did you know that many cars are worth less than the money owed on the loan? It's common, which is also why gap insurance is common to protect the car owner, but what happens when the gap won't cover the gap? It's why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • No Mail Boxes

    No Mail Boxes

    Monday, September 8 2014 10:46 PM EDT2014-09-09 02:46:52 GMT
    The mail boxes for an entire neighborhood are vandalized, the Postal Service can't deliver the mail and residents can't get the boxes replaced. So legally, who has to pay for the new boxes? It's why one woman asked Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to deliver.
    The mail boxes for an entire neighborhood are vandalized, the Postal Service can't deliver the mail and residents can't get the boxes replaced. So legally, who has to pay for the new boxes? It's why one woman asked Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to deliver.
  • Hidden Gas Tax

    Hidden Gas Tax

    Thursday, September 4 2014 11:47 AM EDT2014-09-04 15:47:16 GMT
    How much tax do you pay for a gallon of gasoline? Think about it. Don't know? That's understandable because it's not shown, it's hidden from you. Can the state do that? It's why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
    How much tax do you pay for a gallon of gasoline? Think about it. Don't know? That's understandable because it's not shown, it's hidden from you. Can the state do that? It's why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
  • On Deco DriveMore>>

  • Vintro Hotel

    Vintro Hotel

    Monday, September 15 2014 9:08 PM EDT2014-09-16 01:08:50 GMT
    From hot shoes to a sexy hotel, The Vintro Hotel and Kitchen in Miami Beach was once the Park Avenue Hotel, filled with socialites and fa fa stuff. Today, it's anything but stuffy.
    From hot shoes to a sexy hotel, The Vintro Hotel and Kitchen in Miami Beach was once the Park Avenue Hotel, filled with socialites and fa fa stuff. Today, it's anything but stuffy.
  • Lipstick Lounge

    Lipstick Lounge

    Monday, September 15 2014 9:06 PM EDT2014-09-16 01:06:50 GMT
    Every year Deco straps on its best high heels and heads to Lipstick Lounge. This year I wore my Jimmy Choos to the Glam-A-THON event and helped host one of the hottest fashion events of the year.
    Every year Deco straps on its best high heels and heads to Lipstick Lounge. This year I wore my Jimmy Choos to the Glam-A-THON event and helped host one of the hottest fashion events of the year.
  • Marcus Rivero

    Marcus Rivero

    Monday, September 15 2014 8:26 PM EDT2014-09-16 00:26:43 GMT
    Marcus RiveroMarcus Rivero
    Shireen may have the most extensive and stylish shoe collection in the State of Florida, but one guy is taking shoes of other So-Flo stars and kicking them up a notch. The designer is from South Florida, and tonight we're taking you behind the scenes to show you the face behind the shoes for stars.
    Shireen may have the most extensive and stylish shoe collection in the State of Florida, but one guy is taking shoes of other So-Flo stars and kicking them up a notch. The designer is from South Florida, and tonight we're taking you behind the scenes to show you the face behind the shoes for stars.
  • 7News InvestigationMore>>

  • Captain of Controversy

    Captain of Controversy

    Capt. Francesco SchettinoCapt. Francesco Schettino
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
    In Italy this week, the captain of the Costa Concordia began pre-trial hearings he hopes will convince a judge that the deadly shipwreck was an accident and not a crime. Earlier this year, investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero traveled to Italy for an exclusive interview with Captain Schettino and now has a special assignment report on what he will be telling the court.
  • Till Death Do Us Part

    Till Death Do Us Part

    Thursday, November 7 2013 11:54 PM EST2013-11-08 04:54:26 GMT
    Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up. Alejandra Apraez said her wedding was ruined when the florist she hired did not show up.
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
    There is very little that will match a bride's wedding day -- a day, months, even years in the planning -- and one South Florida woman's wedding was ruined when the florist didn't show up. Why? A death ... but was there a death? Tonight, investigative reporter Patrick Fraser has the amazing story in a report we call "Till Death Do Us Part."
  • Blackwater Fever

    Blackwater Fever

    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As...
    It was a terrible form of malaria that killed two men. Turning their internal organs black. In south Florida we have almost wiped malaria out but now the concern -- it's spreading around us and could hit us. As Patrick...
Powered by WorldNow

WSVN-TV
Sunbeam Television Corp
1401 79th Street Causeway
Miami, FL 33141

Switchboard: (305) 751-6692
Newsroom: (305) 795-2777

Can't find something?
Connect with us here:
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSVN. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.