Rape Kit Sat UNTESTED for 20 Years on Wilmington PD Shelf, Man Indicted After Two Decades

WILMINGTON – If you are unfortunate enough to endure a violent crime, particularly rape, the least you should expect is for law enforcement to carry out justice to its end. A woman raped in Wilmington in 1996, though she had a rape kit completed, waited in vain as it collected dust for more than 20 years “due to regulations.”

From the Port City Daily:

“It’s been more than 20 years since the Wilmington Police Department collected evidence in a rape investigation — that rape kit sat on a shelf at the police department from 1996 until October of 2018.

Then, the DNA was finally tested. The Wilmington Police Department received the results to the collected DNA about three weeks ago, and today, a New Hanover County grand jury indicted Wayne Edward Soller, age 61 of Deltona, Florida in the rape along with several other crimes.

“In 1996 we believe that Soller broke into a young woman’s apartment, threatened her life and raped her while he was here in Wilmington visiting for work. A rape kit was completed, but due to regulations at that time, we were not able to submit that for analysis,” Chief of Police Ralph Evangelous said during a press conference Monday. […]”

For two decades that test sat untested, but while the ‘regulations’ excuse seems inexcusable when the context is a potential rapist on the loose, there really were rules that dictated that kit not be tested. The rules said that unless a suspect had been identified the kits were unavailable for testing. As a result 15,000 untested kits piled up across the state.

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This problem of unprocessed rape kits has been building ever since Governor Roy Cooper was then attorney general. Plans to reduce the backlog proved empty, and the same is proving true for current NC Attorney General Josh Stein.

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With 15,000 untested kits, imagine all the crimes that would be solved if the unintended consequences of bureaucracy could be avoided.

Read more about this case and the potential for others like it at Port City Daily

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