Fayetteville police use DNA to make arrest in 28-year-old rape case
Fayetteville police used the federal DNA database to identify a suspect in a 28-year-old rape case and made an arrest Monday morning.Posted — Updated
The rape, which allegedly involved three assailants, happened near a cemetery building on Ramsey Street in 1992. The woman was cleaning offices at Lafayette Memorial Park. As she left to go to her car, she was knocked unconscious, taken to another location, raped and beaten.
But she recovered and then spent decades fighting for justice, in her own case and the rapes of thousands of others.
Fayetteville Chief of Police Gina Hawkins, Lt. Michael Petti and Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West praised the perseverance of the victim, noting she was instrumental in the passage of laws that led to more widespread testing of DNA in old sexual assault kits.
"This is a great day for the victim and a great day for Cumberland County," West said.
Ms. Linda, as she asked to be identified, never worked again but became an advocate for other sexual assault and rape victims. Her new push is to get a law passed that allows DNA samples to be taken from individuals convicted of domestic violence.
Petti explained the timeline of the case, from the initial collection of DNA evidence in 1992 through September, when testing identified a suspect. Immediately after the crime, a test returned no matches.
"If they get DNA in your case but there's not DNA in the system to match it, you don't get a hit," Ms. Linda explained.
As testing technology improved, the kit was again sent to the North Carolina State Crime Lab in 2006. At that time, a DNA profile was uploaded to the FBI combined system, but it still produced no match.
It was only when Proctor, on probation for a crime committed in 2019, had DNA taken in 2020 that the connection was made.
Hawkins said the arrest offers the ability to identify the other two people involved in the attack based on his acquaintances at the time of the crime. She asked that anyone with that information contact the Fayetteville Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit at 910-433-1851 or Crime Stoppers at 910-483-TIPS (8477).
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