Berkeley police solve sexual assault cold case after 24 years

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According to a city of Berkeley press release, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged a suspect of a sexual assault case after almost 24 years. The suspect, a 49-year-old Ohio resident, is currently in custody.

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Content warning: sexual violence.

After nearly 24 years, Berkeley Police Department officers arrested and charged a suspect in connection with a sexual assault case.

In 1997, BPD officers received and investigated a report of sexual assault from the victim, who was a teenager at the time of the crime, according to a city of Berkeley press release. In the report, the victim noted that they met the suspect near Telegraph Avenue and was offered marijuana and a drive home from the suspect.

While driving the victim through Berkeley Hills, according to the press release, the suspect asked the victim to perform sexual acts. After being denied multiple times, the suspect mentioned a firearm and then threatened to shoot the victim.

The suspect sodomized the victim in the vehicle, after which the victim fled the car and called for help, the press release added.

At the time, the following investigation provided no additional leads, but the case was reopened in 2020 when unidentified DNA was found on evidence collected at the scene of crime.

With this information, BPD’s Detective Division determined that the DNA matched a known offender who was incarcerated at a facility in Texas.

According to the press release, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged the suspect, a 49-year-old Ohio resident, in December with sodomy by force and a special allegation of sexual assault during a kidnapping.

The suspect, who was extradited to Alameda County on March 24, is currently in custody.

Aditya Katewa is a deputy news editor. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @adkatewa1.