By Steve Neavling
DETROIT (Reuters) - Evidence from thousands of open rape cases that was found at a police storage facility in Detroit would get DNA testing under a $4 million funding plan announced on Wednesday by Michigan state and county officials.
The funding, which requires state legislative approval, would be "a down payment" for processing more than 11,000 rape kits dating back as much as 25 years, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said. Testing every kit recovered could cost up to $15 million, officials said.
The rape kits, which were found in 2009, can include DNA from hair and swabs of bodily fluids recovered from victims.
In 569 rape kits tested so far, 32 serial rapists have been identified, some by name, officials said. That is all that have been tested so far because neither Detroit, which is under the appointment of an emergency manager, nor Wayne County has made the money available.
"Thousands of victims have been waiting too long for the justice they deserve," Snyder said at a news conference with Attorney General Bill Schuette and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy.
Schuette said, "The discovery that evidence in thousands of violent crimes against women was ignored for years is an absolute travesty of justice and left Southeastern Michigan vulnerable to future violence that could have been avoided."
The attorney general added: "Here, the scope of failure by government to meet its responsibility is almost impossible to comprehend - it is outrageous. But for the women who were victims of these crimes, we are here to start the process of finding justice, and hopefully, some level of closure."
(Reporting by Steve Neavling; Editing by David Bailey, Gary Hill)