Local News

Fayetteville police using consumer DNA kits to help solve cold cases

Posted January 24, 2019 6:07 p.m. EST
Updated January 24, 2019 6:57 p.m. EST

— The Fayetteville Police Department is now using the results of consumer DNA tests to help solve cold cases.

In July 2015, Fayetteville police had a backlog of more than 600 rape kits not submitted for DNA testing, but as of Jan. 24, that number is zero.

In the same way that anyone can use a genealogical DNA test, like 23andMe and AncestryDNA, to build a family tree, investigators use the technology to create the DNA footprint of a suspect.

Darold Bowden, known as the Ramsey Street Rapist, was arrested in August 2018, thanks in part to genealogical DNA testing.

Investigators say Bowden was responsible for six rapes along Ramsey Street between 2006 and 2008.

"We collected DNA from the crime scene and that DNA was loaded into the national database," Lt. John Somerindyke said. "For 12 years there was no hits to anything."

Fayetteville Police used genealogy DNA testing, performed by Bode Cellmark Forensic in Virginia, to help locate Bowden.

"They were able to load that DNA into a genealogy website and create a family tree of our unknown suspect which led to Mr. Bowden being identified, and we got his DNA and were able to confirm that and get him charged."

Genetic DNA mapping is giving renewed hope to victims, including a woman who was raped while cleaning a building at a Fayetteville cemetery nearly 27 years ago, allegedly by three men who called themselves the three horsemen.

In the last few years, there has been a parade of Fayetteville suspects in court facing new sex-related charges, thanks to the science of DNA testing, according to investigators.

"We always used to hear from victims that they always had to look over their shoulder, they never knew. I think that message is starting to be reversed," Somerindyke said. "These rapists are going to have to start looking over their shoulder because we're coming for them."