The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was awarded two grants in FY2019, totaling nearly $2 million. The funding is being used in efforts to collect lawfully owed DNA samples from approximately 2,900 sex offenders and 1,000 felons, and to conduct follow-up casework. A full-time DNA collection coordinator has been hired to coordinate with Texas Rangers to assist with the most practical collection methods. Texas DPS will also be outsourcing DNA samples for forensic genetic genealogy testing.
Following are updates about Texas DPS's progress since the grants were awarded:
In FY2022, Texas DPS was awarded two additional SAKI grants, totaling $3 million. Half of the funding will be dedicated to collecting lawfully owed DNA samples from approximately 3,661 convicted offenders who are under community supervision for qualifying offenses. Project funding will also support the provision of training to law enforcement agencies on how to collect these DNA samples. The other half of SAKI funding from FY2022 will be used to support staff furthering investigations and prosecutions of sexually motivated homicides that were initiated under previous SAKI awards. Texas DPS will also continue their Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) Study of Sexual Assaults, which seeks to identify viable cases in which an unknown offender profile is present in the state's CODIS database.
For more information on the specific SAKI awards for this site, see the table below.
|FY2019||$1,000,000||Expansion of DNA Databases to Assist with Sexual Assault Investigations and Prosecutions: Collection of Lawfully Owed DNA from Convicted Offenders and Arrestee DNA Collections|
|FY2019||$996,959||Investigation and Prosecution of Cold Case Sexual Assaults|
|FY2022||$1,500,000||Expansion of DNA Databases to Assist with Sexual Assault Investigations and Prosecutions: Collection of Lawfully Owed DNA from Convicted Offenders and Arrestee DNA Collections|
|FY2022||$1,500,000||Investigation and Prosecution of Cold Case Sexual Assaults|
DNA evidence led to arrest in nearly 20-year-old San Marcos cold case
Meredith Aldis, fox7austin.com, Oct 16, 2023
"A nearly 20-year-old cold case may be solved after DNA evidence led to an arrest last month. Police arrested 41-year-old Ricardo Rodriguez in Florida in connection to a violent sexual assault in San Marcos in 2004. "In terms of DNA providing that key lead, that's what we're seeing now,"" Dr. Williamson said. It’s also providing answers to victims through the National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative which gives funding to law enforcement agencies to test kits, investigate, and provide resources for survivors. At least 200,000 cases are getting looked at again."
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has arrested a man for a violent sexual assault that occurred in Texas in 2004.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Sep 25, 2023
Site reported "From our CODIS Study of Sexual Assaults with Single Source Profiles a qualifying case was identified where the actor had gained entry into the victim’s residence and sexually assaulted her in her bed during the night. The actor had covered his face so the victim was unable to recognize him or provide a description. A single source STR was originally developed from the victim’s Sexual Assault Kit and was entered into CODIS in 2005; however, no matches were ever made. SAKI assisted with coordination of further DNA testing in which a Y-STR profile of the unknown was developed in December 2022. In January 2023, SAKI coordinated with the agency and state CODIS Laboratory to have a CODIS Familial Search performed. The search was completed in March 2023 and produced a possible lead. The lead was from a known offender’s DNA who appeared to be a brother to the unknown. Further research of the known offender identified four possible brothers. One of the identified brothers, Ricardo Cruz Rodriguez, was found living in the Tampa, Florida area. Ricardo was in the Army and was stationed at Ft. Hood at the time of the 2004 sexual assault. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and provided valuable assistance with collecting a surreptitious sample from Ricardo which consisted of fingernail clippings and a snack wrapper he had placed in his mouth while eating the contents. The items were collected in April 2023 and sent to San Marcos PD who then submitted them to our DPS Crime Lab for analysis. Unfortunately, the fingernail clippings did not produce a usable DNA profile, so they proceeded with the testing of the snack wrapper. The testing of the wrapper was completed on 08/31/2023 which showed to be a direct match to the unknown profile from the 2004 sexual assault. An arrest and search warrant was executed this morning on Ricardo. He was taken into custody without incident. He has been booked into the Hillsborough County Jail without bond and is awaiting extradition back to Texas. He acted as if it was no big deal and also mentioned another 2008 sexual assault allegation which had been investigated by the military without success. It appears there may be more of his cases still out there."
New Details Released in Unsolved Samuel Little Murders
Texas Department of Public Safety, Dec 1, 2021
The Texas Rangers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program and the United States Department of Justice are releasing new details in more than a dozen unsolved murders committed by serial killer Samuel ?Little, AKA Samuel ?McDowell, in hopes of bringing closure to these cases.
Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Program Featured on the Texas Ranger's Hall of Fame and Museum
Texas Ranger's Hall of Fame and Museum, May 6, 2021
The Texas Ranger's Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Program was featured in the Texas Ranger's Hall of Fame and Museum. Click here to learn more!
Suspected Serial Rapist Pedro Samarrippas Arrested On U.S. Mexico Border, Detectives Seek Other Potential Victims
CBS DFW, Mar 4, 2021
Detectives arrested alleged serial rapist in McAllen on two cold case sexual assault warrants based on DNA evidence.
Suspect indicted in 2019 murder of woman found dead in room at local hotel
KWTX, Feb 24, 2021
Individual identified as a suspect in cold case homicide from 2019 through the state Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Program and advanced DNA analysis.
Texas DPS: DNA collection law helped solve hundreds of crimes in its first year
Billy Gates, KXAN, Nov 13, 2020
The Krystal Jean Baker Act, which allows the collection of DNA samples from those charged with any of 24 different felonies and compares them with existing crime scene DNA samples in a nationwide database, has helped Texas DPS solve more than 250 open investigations in its first year, the agency says.
Fort Hood soldier arrested in year-old murder case
Hannah Hall, KWTX 10, Nov 4, 2020
DNA evidence and investigative work lead to an arrest in a cold case murder from 2019 in Killen.
OPD: Man arrested cold case homicide investigation
Jacy Lewis, MRT, Sep 30, 2020
Forensic Genetic Genealogy leads to arrest of man in sexual assault and murder from 1982.
Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative aims to create a coordinated community response that ensures just resolution to sexual assault cases. Through this program, funding is provided to support multidisciplinary community response teams engaged in the comprehensive reform of jurisdictions approaches to sexual assault cases resulting from evidence found in previously unsubmitted sexual assault kits.