Fayetteville authorities praise victim's perseverance after solving 1992 rape
Fayetteville police used the federal DNA database to identify a suspect in a 28-year-old rape case and made an arrest Monday morning.
he wasn't up to date as it is now, and no leads were generated. In 2006, the sexual assault kit was resubmitted to North Carolina State Crime Lab, at which time unknown Male's DNA was found in the kit and it was submitted into our code A system. And if you don't know what Kotis is, is combined DNA index system. It's a federal system. In 2015 and 2016, Fatal Police Department received, UH, sake grants from the Bureau of Justice Assistance that 2015 grand allowed us to open up the cold case unit. This is one of the first cases we began investigating in 2015. Unfortunately, though, after reviewing that case multiple times with multiple detectives, we ran out of leads in the case, went cold again through the sexual assault kit, was then submitted on two separate occasions to private labs to attempt to establish forensic genetic genealogy. However, the sample wasn't of adequate size. In order to connect that comparison in 2019, we submitted the case back to the North Carolina State Crime Lab and presented to them for their familial DNA program. Unfortunately at that time there was no match is found in 2000 same timeframe, but on October 2019, the individual that was arrested submitted to a DNA screening as part of his probationary requirements we received. That was in. He was excuse me. He was arrested and placed on probation in 2019. A DNA sample was taken September of this year, and in October we received the hit and through extensive investigation, were able to track the suspect down and bring him into custody. I want to specifically speak about the victim. She has been a shining beacon for sexual assault victims across the country. She's going to Riley and pushed really pushed hard for our legislators to create laws and bills to protect crime victims. She was very instrumental and creating the bill that required all law enforcement agencies across the state to inventory they're untested sexual assault kits and report that to the state. She was also instrumental in helping Create Survivors Act, which brings justice for victims and requires law enforcement agencies to submit all sexual assault kits within 45 days of uh, collection. So really, this is a great day for her. There's been many uh, individuals aside of this unit that have looked at this case time and time again, try and find something that we missed and it's just it za highlight of my career. At least I'm sure it's the same flavors at this time. I'll turn it over to District attorney. Good afternoon, Billy West. Coming the county district attorney I have with me Alicia Marks, one of my senior assistant district attorneys and the leader of our cold case sexual assault unit. Uh, this case, it was a lot of hard work by the police department in conjunction with our office, the FBI. Everybody worked very hard to hopefully bring justice for the victim in this case, but the victim in this case that deserves all the credit Azaz Officer Petty said she stayed with this case and this issue and in a very selfless, uh manner because it looked like for many, many years that her case would not be solved. Yet she continued to be dedicated to supporting others that this has happened to in hopes that their cases may be solved with the realization that hers may never be solved. But but fortunately, uh, that has changed we now have charged to defend it in this case. And we're with D A s office gonna work with the police department, Do everything we can, uh, to seek justice in this case for this victim and for this community. Um, as I've said in other cases that were cold cases of this case stands as a reminder, uh, to anyone out there that has committed a violent act in our community at any time in the past that the police department, the district attorney's office, the law enforcement community will not rest until we get justice in that case. And we'll follow every lead for as long as it takes to do that. And in this case, that's been since 1992. I did also want Thio. I mentioned that we partnered with the police department not only through the sake grant, but also recently we partner through them and received a grant for a cold case sexual assault prosecutor that prosecutors should start work after the first of the year and they will be dedicated to, uh, cold cases, two sexual assault cases. And, you know, we've been all the way up to Washington, D. C to lobby for this type of help and prosecution. And we're proud to have one of the few prosecutors in the nation, uh, to be dedicated to these cases under that grant, uh, to to start around the first of the year. And again, I'd like to thank our victim for helping with the Survivors act. It's very important we here in Cumberland County, the police department are sheriff's office did not have a backlog and sexual assault kids. But unfortunately, that was not the case across the state. But that act requires that backlog to be cleaned up. It also requires that upon, um, a a sexual assault occurring, uh, that that can't be submitted within a short period of time to the crime lab for testing. So, uh, this is a great day for our victim. It's a great day for the Cumberland County for the Police Department and for the district attorney's office. Mhm. Let me add just a little bit toe the last part talking about the new grant that we that we have Lieutenant Petty partner with our our grants manager and combine what are the needs in our area where there needs to come from the county. The District attorney said there's gonna have a dedicated prosecutor. The right crisis center is gonna have a dedicated victim advocate. We're gonna have more funding for investigative assistance as well as that. Grant is also gonna assist with the region for people who cannot afford to test their kits. Any department cannot afford to test their kits. So that's pretty huge and shows a lot of commitment. Um, toe what we're doing in regards of solving cold case co cases specifically that of sexually related. So, as Lieutenant Petty said, this is ongoing investigation. There's gonna be limited things we can answer. But this is a good opportunity for questions. And I'm gonna step away because I know it's gonna come for them for a million dollars, sir. A A Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Has been released? Not yet. This is This is the time people were gonna give it to you. Yeah, he's been arrested, though. He has been arrested. It for me. It's my understanding that way. Had several of these, um, serial rapists. Yes, in the fable area that we've had hits on coding system and it's been brought to my attention that many of these individuals come were convicted of fault. Well, it's also abused, and the law does not permit you to take DNA tests of that individual. Okay, it's my understanding that Billy Richardson may be introducing legislation All those lines. How? What can you tell us about that in the importance of that step in helping to eliminate some of these crimes? Because some of the people that you arrested had that been the case, they would not have been able to continue toe great the other individuals. That ranch is great. For example, if I speak, that's a great question. Gilbert. I was actually speaking with Dan guards ahead of great prices last week about this and about supporting this effort because what you're referring to is is currently upon a charge or even of a conviction for an assault on a female, which is a misdemeanor. Under North Carolina law, there's no requirement that a DNA sample be taken. There is some talk of legislation to require that because we've seen a high correlation between domestic violence and sexual assault in rape, so it could be just as now, upon conviction of certain felonies it's required or even upon charge of certain felonies. It's required to give a DNA sample, which is one of the things that was helpful in this case that we're talking about today. Uh, it would also be helpful if we could get that in those misdemeanor assault on a female cases and and you're correct there. There are many cases, including some that we've charged here in this jurisdiction, that their DNA would have been in the system sooner. Was that in place? So I believe that it's something I don't want to speak for, all of law enforcement or all the District Attorney's. But I would think that we would support that effort and coming up with legislation to do that, anything that can help us solve these crimes of violence. Chief, the suspect that's in this case, can you share what the bond amount is? And is that person that individual being house at the company? Kennedy Center Center? Uh, he's at the detention center. I don't know the bond. I believe the first appearance will be tomorrow, based on when he was arrested today, I do not think it's 2 30. Today will probably be tomorrow. Okay, tomorrow It is my understanding. Also, this individual has been in this area for, uh the person is from Fayetteville and has been in this area as you said the entire time that we're familiar with. So it's a long time, you hear? That s Yeah. Eso What goes through my mind is the ability to find the other two suspects, uh, the ability for people in our community to know who he was hanging around at that time period when he was in that 1990 who his friends were what he was doing. Um, he is from this community, so we'll be able to get some good leads. So that's what comes to my mind. E u limited what you can say. How much is he cooperating in? Terms of helping find the other two? Or are you on the impression of the other two are still here. So, uh, we just started the investigation. He was just recently arrested, so we're hopes that if he doesn't cooperate, we get a lot of leads from the community. Once they find out his name. And you get this photograph, you'll come on. So So, uh, anybody from the fable area? That's been here any length of time. Uh, in 1992 I was in college, in another city, but I remember this case being advertised. It got a lot of attention. The individuals left they a tag line, if you will call the Three Horsemen, Okay. And just like you said for 28 years, this case is going unsolved. And it baffled me. Since I've taken over this unit, why three individuals could be at large for that length of time. Normally, people talk, things happen, things come up. But Thio, case and point to what Mr West said This gentleman was charged in 2013 for assault on a female domestic violence. Had his DNA being collected, then we would have had this press conference seven years ago. So yet another reason why he's correct. There's a big correlation in this between domestic violence and sexual assault. For those of us have been here for some time. We all remember and respect John Summer Dyke. It's played a big role in this case. Has even contacted E Absolutely. When I was able to reach him, he was actually on a hiking trip, and eh? So I had a little hard time getting a hold of them. E don't know if you just didn't take my call or but I contacted his wife and said, I need him. Call me now, Andi. Once we got off the phone, he said he turned around and it just stopped raining. There was a rainbow on. It means a lot to him a lot. To a lot of people here, a lot of retirees that have gone, um, we've reached out to let them know we got a break and they're just They're everybody's static. There's been so many people involved in this, and, you know, in 1992 they did an outstanding job with what they had at the time. It was a multi agency investigation. They just did not have the technology that we have nowadays for people who don't know what, thank you. So our victim was cleaning the offices at Lafayette Memorial Park, which is the cemetery across from a hospital, A Z she does every night. She walked to her vehicle to store some of the equipment, and she was knocked unconscious. Uh, when she awoke, she was taking a taken out of the trunk into a wooded area on brutally raped and beaten and left for dead. Uh, in a nutshell. That's what happened. I can't sugar coat that. So the people that were involved in this investigation that they've never seen anybody beat to that extent, which may be one of the reasons that we've tried to work it. So hardly any other questions, precisely. What? What? What was the significance of the three horse was extricated on? We don't know other than there's three people and we're gonna continue to try and find out who those other to work because they need to be at the same place there partners that keep him company rage that could be solved. Grant way. As as Mr Weston chief said, we we do not have any more untested kits in our inventory. Everything has been sent off, and currently one of the reasons we push for the 2020 grand to get a specialized prosecutor because I think we're up to a total of 58 Cold case arrest now, and because this is a some of these cases, like in this one, occurred 30 years ago, there's a lot of nuances to prosecuting them somebody needs to be familiar with victim trauma. Somebody needs to be a familiar with DNA. Somebody needs to figure with Cold case investigations. Thio give special attention to these cases. That's why we felt it was such a strong need to try and get specialized prosecutor position built into that grand and were so adamant that DNA and genetic genealogy work that, as the chief said, we factored in money to that grant were awarded money to become a regional genetic genealogy testing site for agencies that don't have the funding to send their cold cases off like that. We will actually evaluate them with a multi disciplinary team and pay for those cases to be settled. Is the impact of the pandemic slowing things down in terms of cases being processed? It's been processed way Police department didn't take any days off. So, uh, and, uh, Faras because they didn't either The D. A s office didn't either. So not really certain. So, once again, we appreciate everyone coming and we know that. So this is a big case, right? I know that just want to share. We're gonna close up. But we also know who's in probably in about 15 minutes. If you want to do a one on one, the Attorney general is gonna come and be able to do one on one to talk about the impact of the laws that are out there and how big this, uh, this case is so thank you again. We appreciate you. Mhm pathetic. He opened it.