Rape kit tested 13 years later, arrest made 15 years after attac - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Rape kit tested 13 years later, arrest made 15 years after attack

Kelvin Stokes Kelvin Stokes
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

At the height of the rape kit backlog, the kits sat on shelves all over Memphis. Just a few years later, all kits are in a climate controlled evidence room inside a specialized facility.

Mayor A C Wharton said he won't rest until every kit inside that room is examined. One such kit led to the arrest of Kelvin Stokes.

Stokes is sitting in a Shelby County jail cell on two counts of aggravated rape and a quarter of a million dollar bond, after DNA linked him to a July 30, 2000 rape. 

The police affidavit says he attended a party at the victim's Oakhaven home that night and later returned with an unknown friend, claiming he left something behind. 

After the victim let him and the unknown man inside her home, she says Stokes went to the bathroom and called her.  When she entered he bathroom, the victim says Stokes raped her and then held her down as the other unknown man raped her. 

The victim went to the Memphis Sexual Assault Resource Center where evidence was collected, but her Sexual Assault Kit was left on a shelf for years, along with thousands of other rape kits. 

After the mayor's office vowed to end the backlog in 2013, the victim's kit was tested and the state matched the evidence to Stokes' DNA in May. 

This month, the victim identified Stokes as her rapist in a photo lineup and Stokes was arrested Wednesday. 

"At least we made justice a possibility, even after 15 years," said Mayor A C Wharton.

Still, approximately 6,788 of the 12,375 rape kits still haven't been tested.

"This is not about counting boxes," Wharton added. "It's about real justice for real people."

Investigators are still looking for the second man accused in the aforementioned rape.

"We may have nabbed you already," Wharton said. "We just don't know your name."

To learn more about the status of the rape kits, click here

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