Forty years afterwards she was ually assaulted, Kathy Thomas — who started out with aloof a allotment of cardboard and a business agenda from Marion County Sheriff’s Office Investigator — has a case cardinal and a amalgamation abounding with 50 pages abounding with advice about her advance in 1978.
What she does not have, due to the access of time and an adverse set of circumstances, is justice.
Florida has faced a abduction kit processing excess aback 2015. Florida Department of Law Administration appear The Animal Advance Kit Progress Report in July. Some 6,000 ahead submitted kits that were allotment of the excess accept now been processed, with added than 1,000 still to go by June 2019.
Processing the kits and inputting blackmailer DNA into a civic database can aid the action of gluttonous amends for victims of animal assault.
Thomas, again 22, was a academy apprentice residing in Gainesville aback she absitively to airing home from a New Year’s Eve affair in Marion County. She encountered a man on US 441, who offered her a ride home. Little did she apperceive the man would not booty her home.
Instead, he angry aback to Marion County.
“He wouldn’t let me get out. I was abashed I was activity to die.”
Thomas was taken into a abounding breadth off us 441 breadth she was ually assaulted. Afterward, the man collection her to a accessible breadth off the artery and let her go. She alleged a acquaintance in Gainesville who best her up at a accessibility store. She went to Shands Hospital to get a abduction kit and to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office to book a report.The man was arrested afterwards Thomas accustomed him in a lineup.
The case was afterwards transferred to Marion County. She recalls her advocate and the prosecutor allurement her what she says were “a alternation of arduous and awkward questions,” allegorical her she did not accept a case.
Thomas said she ultimately absent her adventuresomeness and did not accompany the case.
Fast advanced 40 years later, Thomas, now 62, capital to apperceive what happened with her case. She absitively to accomplish the two-hour drive from Merritt Island, breadth she lives now, to the Marion County Courthouse. She spent $50 on copies ($1 per folio of paper) of her case amalgamation abounding with advice about her case and the administrator who took her account at Shands Hospital in 1978. Aback she collection to the Alachua County Sheriff’S Office she apparent that her abduction kit was destroyed not continued afterwards she banned to accompany her case aback in 1978.
Thomas’ case is aloof one amid abounding agnate cases breadth abduction kits are sometimes destroyed or awaiting acquiescence for processing.
After advertisement a animal assault, a abduction kit, a amalgamation which provides altered instruments to aggregate the all-important evidence, is acclimated to aggregate DNA samples. With the advice of this kit, a argumentative aggregation will be able to analyze the perpetrator’s character and accompany justice.
North Central Florida accomplished altered levels of excess processing. In the 2016 Florida Department of Law Administration Assessment of Unsubmitted Animal Advance Kits Executive Summary, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office had 51 kits that “should accept been submitted,” and Marion County Sheriff’s Office had 15.
Lauren Lettelier, a backer for Marion County Sheriff’s Office, said processing of its abduction kits is now up to date.
“We don’t analysis them if the being decides to bead the charges. All alive cases are tested,” Lettelier said.
It is the Florida Department of Law Administration (FDLE) abomination lab that tests all abduction kits. Gretl Plessinger, a FDLE spokeswoman, explained that bounded law administration agencies, such as the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, are not answerable for abduction kit testing: “FDLE is adjourned by the assembly so there is no amount to bounded law administration agencies.”
Alachua County was abundantly absolved the botheration of abstinent kits.
“Fortunately, Gainesville was not hit adamantine by this issue like some of the beyond communities in Florida and about the country,” said Laura Kalt, administrator of Alachua County Victim Casework and Abduction Crisis Center. The centermost provides assorted casework for animal advance victims from counseling to application opportunity, and advocates who accompany the victims through bent amends acknowledged process.
The Alachua County Victim Casework and Abduction Crisis Centermost is one amid the abounding organizations that advice victims get through these difficult times.
If you or a admired one are a victim of animal assault, contact The Alachua County Victim Casework and Abduction Crisis Centermost at 352-264-6760, or Report Abduction Gainesville.
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