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New Mexico crime lab clears rape kit backlog, governor says

Gov. Susana Martinez says the state crime lab has cleared its backlog of nearly 1,400 rape kits ahead of schedule.

In her announcement Friday, the governor said a combination of $1.2 million in grant funding and the hiring of two temporary forensic scientists helped officials clear the backlog of evidence kits that had been in the state’s lab.

A 2015 audit of New Mexico law enforcement agencies found at the time that there were 5,300 total untested rape kits in the state. Three-quarters of them, however, were in Albuquerque police’s crime lab, which operates separately from the state lab.

Martinez says remaining grant funding will be provided to Albuquerque to help clear its backlog of rape kits. Experts say each kit can cost law enforcement $600 to $1,000 to examine.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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