Local News

Grant turns up heat on 100 Fayetteville cold cases

Posted September 15, 2015

— The Fayetteville Police Department is planning to turn up the heat on some cold cases, using money from the U.S. Department of Justice. The $363,000 grant will pay for testing on about 100 sexual assault kits that have been sitting idle.

But first, the department must identify, of hundreds of cold cases – some dating to 1984 – those where DNA testing can do the most good.

One of those could be the 2001 case of a rape victim who remembers being beaten, kicked, raped and strangled. Her attacker was never identified.

"During that time, testing was in its infancy, or it was not being done, or else you had to have a suspect standard to send along with the sexual assault kit for comparison, so a lot of these kits went untested," said Lt. John Somerindyke.

Over time, the police department has gathered more DNA records for comparison. Analysts will target those cases they think are closest to a conviction or those where no evidence has yet been tested.

A portion of grant the money will also go to fund a full-time position at Rape Crisis Volunteers of Cumberland County. That advocate would assist victims if an arrest is made in any of the cases.

Deanne Gerdes, of Rape Crisis Volunteers, said all the victims are grateful for the second look.

"No one has been angry or disappointed," she said. "They've all been almost relieved that it's coming back in and we're working it again."


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