Mobile Police nearing the end of its cold case sexual assault kits

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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Over the last few years, Mobile Police combed through thousands of cold case sexual assault kits, hoping new science might bring new leads. Now their work is nearly complete and only a handful of arrests remain.

Mobile Police got the SAKI Grant in 2015. All of the kits that were submitted have been tested, but first, investigators determined which kits had DNA evidence to see if new testing could solve the case.

Lt. Matthew James has been looking at these cases for years. SAKI, or the sexual assault kit initiative, provided funds for Mobile Police to test 757 rape kits. Before getting the grant, the department submitted about 50 kits on its own. Lieutenant James said, “There were many cases before we began receiving the SAKI grant that we began looking at, submitting for testing, and so forth, and we still have a handful of those outstanding as well that just weren’t certified and funded by the grant itself. They were worked in much the same capacity.”

Mobile Police’s most recent arrest for a cold case is one the department submitted without funding from the SAKI Grant. Andrew Landrum is charged with a rape from 1997. Officers say Landrum broke into a home, threatened a woman with a knife, and raped her. “This new information gave us the boost we needed to be able to make an arrest in the case,” James said.

There’s no statute of limitations for rape in the state of Alabama. Currently police have made four arrests under the SAKI initiative, and at least five more from the cases they submitted before receiving it.

James said, “We do have about four more that are pending, through the SAKI initiative, that are pending presentation to the grand jury for charges.” He said investigators have all the evidence they need for these last few cases.

“Right now, it kind of hinges on the court system which unfortunately we’re behind due to COVID,” James said.

He added, “Our plan ultimately is though once all of these investigations are complete on these last remaining few cold cases is that we won’t have this issue again because fortunately the SAKI grant itself has gave us the funding and the ability to keep on track with current cases.”

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