Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) Program
In 2018, Company “B” Texas Ranger James Holland began interviewing Samuel Little in a California prison while he was serving three consecutive life sentences for killing three women in Los Angeles County in the late 1980s. DNA linked Little to the murders of the three women. The FBI considers Little to be the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history. After Ranger Holland’s very high-profile interviews of Little, and the subsequent confessions to approximately 93 murders, the Texas Rangers organization became aware of the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI).
SAKI is a program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to assist with furthering collection of offender DNA and identifying and prosecuting violent serial sex offenders. In 2019, the Texas Rangers received two grants from the DOJ BJA. These grants received by the Texas Rangers are for the collection and entry of lawfully owed DNA into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), and the investigation and prosecution of cold case sexually related homicides and sexual assault cases, including violent serial sex offenders.
Soon after beginning work on the SAKI grants, the Texas Rangers became aware of the vast deficit of lawfully owed DNA samples owed to the state of Texas by felony offenders and sex offenders. The Texas Rangers are working to eliminate the existing deficit by using SAKI funds to conduct a thorough census of lawfully owed DNA samples from convicted felons and sex offenders, while simultaneously identifying the perpetrators of these unknown offenses in the form of CODIS hits upon sample entry into the CODIS database. Texas Rangers, working with local law enforcement, have identified approximately 3,300 registered sex offenders in Texas who owe the state a DNA sample for entry into CODIS. In instances where a lawfully owed DNA sample gathered from SAKI efforts results in a CODIS hit, Texas Rangers will work in conjunction with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to assist with investigating and prosecuting these cases.
In January 2020, Texas Ranger leadership selected Orlando Salinas to serve as the site coordinator for the SAKI grant. As the site coordinator, Orlando oversees the collection of lawfully owed DNA. Orlando joined the Texas Rangers in 2018 as the non-commissioned program lead for the Border Security Operations Center (BSOC).
As of 2019, the state of Texas possessed approximately 35,000 forensic samples in CODIS that have not been associated with a known individual. Additionally, the Texas Rangers have identified unsolved sexual assaults and sexually related homicides in CODIS without an association to a known individual. The Texas Rangers are using SAKI funds to resume investigative efforts on cold cases by outsourcing forensic genetic genealogy testing of DNA samples from unknown offenders linked to sexual assaults and sexually related homicides. The Texas Rangers will use the information obtained from testing to investigate cold cases and to work in partnership with other law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to bring these violent offenders to justice.
Headquarters Ranger Staff Lieutenant Trampas Gooding serves as the coordinator for the SAKI cold case investigation and prosecution. He is working with Texas Rangers, law enforcement and prosecutors around the state to bring the perpetrators of these violent cold cases to justice. Ranger Captain Wende Wakeman supervises the SAKI program.