- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

CLEVELAND (AP) - Cuyahoga County prosecutors are shifting focus from Cleveland to its suburbs in their efforts to reinvestigate old rape cases.

There’s been a push to have old rape kits tested for DNA evidence that could identify suspects. Prosecutors reinvestigated thousands of leads in Cleveland cases, leading to a number of indictments, and now want to do similar work on suburban cases, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland (http://bit.ly/1zj87Lo ) reported.

State testing of old kits submitted by authorities in the suburbs led to over 70 hits identifying possible suspects by name, plus dozens more DNA profiles, the newspaper said. The clock is ticking on a 20-year statute of limitation for prosecution, so county Prosecutor Timothy McGinty wants to work on indicting the “John Doe” cases.

Those could be linked to specific people if the offenders commit future felonies and match the DNA. Among the city cases, McGinty’s office worked to indict more than 60 “John Doe” cases.

Meanwhile, McGinty has asked suburban police to boost efforts to have old evidence tested, and his office offered those departments a resource: the expertise of the DNA Cold Case Task Force.

“We want no kit left untested,” McGinty said. “All the evidence room shelves should be cleared.”

When it was concentrating on nearly 4,300 kits from Cleveland cases, the task force determined some went untested or were screened for blood or semen but not DNA, the panel’s leader, Assistant County Prosecutor Rick Bell, said.

At least 13 Cleveland suburbs have submitted old rape kits for DNA testing, and many of those have received the results. East Cleveland sent in evidence from over 200 unsolved cases and identified nearly 40 rape suspects. Testing on kits submitting by Cleveland Heights led to three named suspects and DNA profiles for nine more unidentified possible offenders.

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Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com

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