Cold Justice

The Outrage and Promise of Untested DNA From Rape Victims

Starting in the 1970s, a Baltimore doctor quietly preserved DNA evidence from rape victims, believing science would eventually catch up. Much of it would sit for decades, ignored and unused, until a trailblazing detective and her cold-case team uncovered its secrets.

He Admitted to a Rape 41 Years After the Fact. For One Survivor: “It’s the Most Freeing Experience in the World”

In 1980, Julienne Wood was assaulted by a stranger during her first year at Goucher College. Following our investigation into untested DNA evidence and a clue from a fellow alumna, police were able to link her attack to a convicted serial rapist.

How Our Investigation Into Untested DNA Evidence Helped Solve a 1983 Murder

When reporter Catherine Rentz found a 1983 article about a student who was raped and murdered, she immediately recognized the similarities to crimes committed by a serial perpetrator she’d been investigating.

“The Best Bargain in the History of Law Enforcement” — and the High Cost of Not Testing Backlogged Rape Kits

When reporter Catherine Rentz began looking at the criminal histories of men who’d been arrested for rape based on DNA evidence, she found a system that protected serial criminals rather than survivors.

“A Horror Movie in Reverse”: How I Investigated Decades of Untested Rape Kits

Reporter Catherine Rentz goes behind the scenes of her serialized investigation into the outrage and promise of untested DNA from rape victims.

“This Is How You Get Your Power Back”

Police had long since destroyed the evidence from their cases. Decades later, a group of women got a second chance at justice.

“You Save as Long as You Have To”

Distressed by authorities’ poor treatment of rape victims and destruction of evidence, one doctor became a DNA archivist long before we had the technology to test it. For potentially hundreds of survivors, his faith in science is paying off.

“Who Is This Monster?”

She went undercover to catch a rapist. Two decades later, she finally got her chance.

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