A special cold case rape squad at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has solved 132 sexual assaults in six years -- cases where victims never would have otherwise seen justice - Crimes that go as far back as 30 years ago. The Charlotte Observer revealed that a team of veteran detectives has been wading through the city's 2,500 unsolved rapes, looking for new clues and evidence that will lead them to suspects who have gone free for years, or even decades. The hunt had led to the arrest of 29 men -- including six serial rapists.
Advances in DNA and forensic analysis have been the catalyst for the marketable breakthroughs, the newspaper reports. Most of the cases that have been solved have been as a result of DNA matches, either to semen or saliva collected from the victim, or physical evidence -- a cigarette butt, perhaps -- taken from the scene of a crime. New technology allows forensic lab technicians to extract unique DNA markers from tiny samples that are decades old. Updated, computerized DNA databases of criminals allow investigators to cross-reference a DNA sample against thousands of people who have been arrested.
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