Durham police say sexual assault kit funding has helped department make arrests, close cold cases

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Police Department officials on Tuesday gave an update on their Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.

The department said the Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit, which is funded through two National Sexual Assault Kit Initiative project grants totaling $1,518,66, recently made significant arrests.

For example, last year, unknown male DNA from a Durham case was matched with to two different 2007 cases out of Florida. Investigators learned that in February of 2007 a woman was sexually assaulted in Key West and then in May of 2007 a woman was sexually assaulted in Ft. Lauderdale.

Last week, the suspect was indicted on charges of Second-Degree Rape, First-Degree Kidnapping and Second-Degree Sexual Offense.

In addition, police said they were able to solve a 2015 cold case in which a man wearing a mask and armed with knife broke into a woman's home who he did not know and sexually assaulted her.

The sexual assault kit was submitted for testing in 2018 as part of the untested kit initiative.

Durham investigators received a hit in November 2020 and investigators obtained indictments charging a 27-year-old man with First-Degree Rape and First-Degree Burglary.

The man was arrested in early October of 2020 in Texas for Illegal Re-entry into the Country and was in the custody of the US Marshals in Texas.

Regarding sex assault kit testing, as of the end of February 2021, 270 kits had been tested and investigators had received 73 CODIS hit notifications.

As a result of the 73 CODIS hits, 13 people have been charged in connection with 17 cases so far.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Here are some resources:

Durham Police Department Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit and Special Victims Unit: (919) 560-4440

Durham Crisis Response Center

North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCCASA)
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