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Rape Kit Leads to DNA Match ... and Devastating Mix-Up

James Chad-Lewis Clay was convicted, but turned out to be the victim's old boyfriend
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2019 2:23 PM CDT
In this April 2, 2015, file photo, a sexual assault evidence kit is logged in the biology lab at the Houston Forensic Science Center in Houston.   (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)

(Newser) – In 2015, one of the 11,000 untested rape kits that had been discovered in a Detroit police warehouse was sent out for testing and returned a DNA match. James Chad-Lewis Clay was arrested, charged, convicted, and by 2017 had been sentenced to 25 to 50 years behind bars for the 1997 rape of a 15-year-old girl. There was just one—very big—problem: In 2019 the victim saw a photo of Clay when he was in high school and realized he was "Chad," a guy she had dated around the same time she was raped. They'd had consensual sex, explaining the presence of his DNA in her rape kit. Clay was released Tuesday, the Detroit Free Press reports, following the newspaper's investigation into the story. More:

  • The victim, now 37, was raped by a man in an alley who threw a rag over her face and held a gun to her head. She had never seen the man before. She was surprised to be contacted about her rape kit nearly two decades later, but decided to proceed with pursuing the case in an effort to get closure.

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