The Sexual Assault Kit Initative worked on the case of William Truman Jones, a Cadillac man, who was arraigned on Oct. 7 on a charge while he lived in Delhi Township in 2005.
The initiative covers cold cases and does inventory of sexual assault kits that previously had not been examined.
The purpose of the initiative is to “end the backlog of untested kits, identify perpetrators through DNA technology, and help provide resolution to survivors of sexual assault,” according to the Ingham County website.
“We were going through all the old sexual assault kits that were taken at the time and weren’t tested until recently,” Ingham County Sheriff Scott Wriggelsworth said. “Then we look at those cases and see if the recent tests identify the suspect or if there were any other leads that were not followed up on in the past.”
The Jones case was one of the DNA examinations that was successful. His bond was set at $500,000, the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office reported on its Facebook page.
“It’s a grant funded project,” Special Investigator Annie Harrison said. “I work out of the prosecuting attorney’s office and my job as a detective is to investigate cases that had previously untested sexual assault evidence kits.”
Harrison said that there were 123 untested kits in Ingham County, and the initial testing is now complete.
“My job as the investigator is to review the reports that were available at that time and then conduct a thorough investigation in regards to these cases,” Harrison said.
The reason Ingham County Sheriff’s department did not enter these cases earlier is because they did not want to clutter the system, Wriggelsworth said.
“What some people don’t understand is that there are a lot of sexual assaults where the suspect is known,” Wriggelsworth said. “So what didn’t happen back in the day was kits were sent in to identify an unidentified perpetrator. Instead of cluttering the system at the time, there were some investigations where the kit wasn’t sent in.”
Wriggelsworth said there was a minor problem with only entering unknown perpetrators into the system.
“What the system did not consider was that the person could be a multiple offender, could be a serial rapist,” Wriggelsworth said. “So now we send in the sexual assault kit on every rape because maybe the date-rape person that no one accused was also raping other people and they didn’t know who he or she was.”
The initiative helped identify Jones and he could face up to life in prison for the Delhi Township rape case from 15 years ago.
A preliminary examination hearing is set for Dec. 18 at the 55th District Court in front of Judge Richard Hillman to determine if there’s enough evidence for Jones to stand trial, according to court records.
“All of the law enforcement agencies are supportive of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative,” Harrison said. “This is a project that is really important to our community.”