The Akron Police Department was awarded its third National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Grant in the amount of $150,000. Following City Council approval, the funds will be used over three years specifically for genetic genealogy testing of approximately 20 cases per year.
Additionally, the funding will allow investigators to apply a targeted and prioritized approach toward identifying dangerous, unknown sexual assault offenders, starting with the 15 existing John Doe Warrants.
Since the start of the SAKI Unit, ten suspects have been arrested on 32 counts involving 15 separate victims. One of the suspects arrested, Jerome Keys, was later charged and convicted of kidnapping, rape, and felonious assault. Keys is now serving an 18-year prison sentence.
The Akron Police Department’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Unit is a grant funded, community collaboration with the Summit County Prosecutors Office, Ohio BCI, Victim Assistance Program, and the Rape Crisis Center. The unit began investigating and prosecuting offenders of cold case sexual assaults back in February, 2019.
Every case is extremely important to the SAKI unit. Based on statute of limitations, the oldest open cases, and those with suspects linked to multiple reports of sexual assault are given investigative priority. Consideration is also given any time a survivor contacts the SAKI unit requesting that their cold sexual assault case be investigated.
Republished courtesy of Akron PD.