Like the LAPD, the Sheriff's Department has struggled to devise a financially feasible plan to eliminate its DNA backlog. Both agencies are currently increasing the number of in-house lab analysts to handle the constant influx of new cases, while also plotting out ways to outsource the backlogged cases to private labs. Each kit costs about $1,000 to process.
Shields told L.A. County supervisors that he would soon present Baca with a proposed plan and said it would take "years" to clear the backlog. In an interview, he declined to provide specifics.
Time is a major factor: More than 100 sheriff's cases are within six months of reaching the state's 10-year statute of limitations, Shields reported.
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Of 4,738 cases with unanalyzed sexual assault kits held by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the current status of 3,313 of them is known:
* 1,437 Remain open and have known suspects
* 815 Remain open and have no known suspects
* 1,061 Have either been adjudicated or rejected by the district attorney's office
Many of the cases are also approaching legal limits on prosecutions:
* 106 Are nearing the 10-year statute of limitations
* 311 Have exceeded the 10-year statute of limitations
* 51 Are over 10 years old and have no known suspects
Source: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department