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Akron police receive more funding to investigate sexual assault cold cases using genealogy testing

Posted at 12:34 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 12:34:58-05

AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Police Department’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Unit will use newly-granted funds from the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative to conduct genetic genealogy testing on sexual assault cold cases, if approved by city council.

The city of Akron received a $150,000 grant, its third National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Grant. Since 2018, Akron has received over $3 million in funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Genealogy testing takes a DNA profile that was in a sexual assault kit and compares it to genealogy databases to find the owner of the DNA profile or a close family relation.

This type of testing will be used on approximately 20 cases per year, the department said. Since the start of the unit in 2019, police arrested ten people on 32 counts involving 15 separate victims.

Investigators will use the new round of funding to identify unknown sexual assault offenders, starting with 15 existing John Doe warrants. Investigators look at several factors when considering which cases to investigate first, including the statute of limitations, the oldest open cases and those with offenders linked to multiple reports of sexual assault.

Survivors can call SAKI investigators at 330-375-2228 to request their cold sexual assault case be investigated. Survivors of sexual assault can also call Summit County Victim Assistance Program at 330-376-0040 or the Rape Crisis Center at 330-434-7273 for services and support.