After years of a backlog, the Fayetteville Police Department is now taking extra steps to reduce their sexual assault kit backlog.

CBS 17 Investigators discovered the oldest kit dated back to 1984. In 2015, the Fayetteville Police Department’s evidence room had 962 sexual assault kits waiting to be tested.

PART 2 OF THE INVESTIGATION: NC rape survivor questions new law on rape kit backlog, funding

It’s an agonizing delay for rape survivors like Katherine Meininger, which is why she is asking officials to do more.

“Every day your life is put on hold. Every day wondering like, were they able to collect everything? Did anything show up at all? You never know until it finally comes back,” said Meininger.

She says the delay is a major problem at police departments across North Carolina.

The Fayetteville Police Department agrees. Lt. John Somerindyke with the Special Victims Unit says the backlog should have been fixed years ago.

“We absolutely should have done better. We let them down. Not only do they deserve to have their sexual assault kit tested, they also deserve an apology,” he said.

CBS 17 Investigators discovered it took Fayetteville police decades to find the depth of the problem. Between 1999 and 2008 the department destroyed 333 untested rape kits.

We learned the department would often destroy kits for closed cases, to free up storage space, before the law changed in 2009.

Since the statewide audit on the backlog, Fayetteville police have worked to fix the problem.

“Our numbers are much better. I think we have a little over 1,100 sexual assault kits sitting in inventory. I think we’re getting over 70 percent tested. We sent over 300 to the private labs for testing using our grant funding,” said Somerindyke.

They are also reviewing cold cases.

“Well we’ve got 25 rapist in jail as a result of our cold case review. So yeah, we’re doing a pretty good job I think,” stated Somerindyke.

They have enacted a victim notification program to inform rape survivors on the status of their kits. For advocates like Meininger, it’s a step in the right direction. She had to wait years for her kit to be tested and her rapist to be put behind bars.

PART 2 OF THE INVESTIGATION: NC rape survivor questions new law on rape kit backlog, funding

“I felt like it was my duty to do something. Not just to go through the prosecution process, but to continue to speak out about it. Just because it is so hard…maybe the more we see it and we hear about it, the easier it’s going to be for people to stand up and say something,” said Meininger.

Now she’s asking police departments across the state and lawmakers to do more to get sexual assault kits tested for the thousands of victims still waiting for justice.



If you or someone you know has been raped, contact 800.656.HOPE (4673).

Click here for more information.

Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline gives you access to a range of free services including:

  • Confidential support from a trained staff member
  • Support finding a local health facility that is trained to care for survivors of sexual assault and offers services like sexual assault forensic exams
  • Someone to help you talk through what happened
  • Local resources that can assist with your next steps toward healing and recovery
  • Referrals for long term support in your area
  • Information about the laws in your community
  • Basic information about medical concerns