Rape survivor shares her story as MPD updates status of untested rape kits

In 2013, more than 12,000 rape kits were discovered inside the Memphis Police Department. About half had been tested at some point, but their results were never shared.

FOX13 was the only news station in the room as MPD leadership updated victims and business leaders on the status of those rape kits Wednesday.

"When you go home at night and you lock the door, you're now safe. You've locked all the bad things out. I don't have a safe place… because my rapist was never caught. He's always coming again.”

A stranger raped Terilyn Blockman in 1987. Her case was never solved.

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"I woke up and my rapist was standing over me. As I started to scream, he strangled me,” she said.

That was just one year after DNA testing was discovered. The Memphis Police Department wouldn't have access to the technology until 1998. All that time, Blockman waited.

"I was treated as though I asked for it,” she told us after the meeting was over.

She said she gave up hope that justice would ever be served. That is until the City of Memphis announced in 2013 it had found more than 12,000 rape kits needing to be tested.

Blockman joined a lawsuit with nearly 100 others, alleging neglect at MPD.

"Until that was brought to light, I'm not sure anything would have ever happened,” she said of her optimism.

"So far, at this point, there's been over 3,500 investigations. About 300 of those are still active. 89% of the investigations have been closed,” MPD Deputy Chief Don Crowe told us after he updated survivors and members of the business community on the latest numbers.

Those numbers included 237 rape indictments for suspects they could identify. 51 were involved in multiple rapes. And another 166 John Does were indicted, freezing the statute of limitations.

"It's hard to anticipate how much longer it will be because we anticipate the CODIS matches will come back for years to come. Any time we get a CODIS match or profile back, we are going to get an investigation,” Deputy Chief Crowe added.

He explained the Memphis Police Department has requested more than 400 indictments since they began investigating the rape kit stockpile. Because those rape kits sat on a shelf, more than 50 suspects were able to go out and attack again. It's stats like these, survivors said, that keep them up at night.

"We've still got a lot of kits out there. It's like, where is my kit,” Blockman said finally.

For her, the 32-year wait continues, as their lawsuit drags on.

Several other significant facts were discussed. They are listed below:

  • In 2013, the City of Memphis announced 12,000 rape kits would need to be tested.
  • 6,000 kits had previously been tested.
  • 11% of the cases, around 300, are still active.
  • 237 indictments were requested on suspects that could be identified.
  • 51 of those suspects were involved in multiple rapes.
  • Another 166 John Does were indicted.
  • 527 individuals that were identified have been previously convicted of a crime.
  • 617 of the cases have surpassed the statute of limitations.
  • In 244 cases, the DA's Office declined to prosecute.
  • 275 victims declined to prosecute.