A cold case unit from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department recently arrested a man for a kidnapping and rape that allegedly took place 20 years ago. The suspect, Juan Taylor, now 45, has an existing criminal record. He was convicted of second degree murder for the death of an 82-year-old man that occurred six years before the alleged sexual assault.
The aggravated sexual assault took place in late spring of 1991, according to police. Taylor allegedly was part of a group of individuals that drove up next to the victim while she was walking down the street, forced her into the vehicle, drove a short distance and raped her.
The victim was released by her captors after the rape as they fled the scene. She waved down a police cruiser and reported the rape.
As part of the investigation, a rape kit was completed and DNA evidence was collected and preserved. After the rape kit was processed, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Sexual Assault Cold Case Unit used that DNA evidence to tie Taylor to the crime from 20 years prior.
While arrests in cold cases may offer closure to victims who have otherwise been unable to see their attacker(s) put behind bars, the passing of a long period of time between the actual crime and an arrest may raise serious issues for a criminal defendant. But, the good news is that DNA evidence may finally offer a chance at freedom for those who were innocent of the crimes charged but were still convicted and are behind bars.
Taylor is currently being held on a $125,000 bond at the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Source: Charlotte Observer, “Suspect arrested in ’91 rape, kidnapping,” April Bethea, April 6, 2012