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Should Iowa test DNA evidence even when the victim doesn't want it done?

Iowa is making inroads in testing more than 4,000 rape kits that in some cases have sat for decades on law enforcement agencies' shelves.

But what if some victims don't want their kits — either old or current ones — tested? Should Iowa analyze them anyway?

It's a question that's simmering as the state tackles a backlog of 4,265 rape kits stuck in storage, including some kits dating to the 1990s, according to a survey.

But that same survey also showed that about 800 kits were not tested because victims didn't want charges filed.

The survey found a range of reasons why the remaining 3,400 kits were untested, including doubt about the victim's accusation, prosecutors not requesting an analysis and uncooperative victims.

"We don’t really know what victims' wishes are in a large majority of these kits," said Janelle Melohn, director of the Attorney General Office’s Crime Victim Assistance Division. "We don’t know if victims wanted the kit sent to the lab or if law enforcement dropped the ball."

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