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US Suspect In Rape And Murder Of Schoolgirl Identified 26 Years Later

The Atlanta police have identified a recently deceased suspect who allegedly raped and killed a teenager by shooting her twice in the face in 1995.

Twenty-six years later, the police said that the late Kelvin Arnold assaulted and fatally shot 14-year-old Nacole Smith on 7 June 1995 while she was on her way to school.

Twenty-six years later, the police said that the late Kelvin Arnold assaulted and fatally shot 14-year-old Nacole Smith on 7 June 1995 while she was on her way to school.

Mr Arnold died of liver and kidney failure while in hospice care in August 2021 in Fulton County. He was 49 years old.

“There are literally boxes, and boxes, and boxes of data and reports and evidence that has been analysed as it pertains to this case,” homicide commander Ralph Woolfolk said on Tuesday while announcing the details of the breakthrough.

Miss Smith was walking to her school with her sister when she forgot something and turned around to go back home through the woods, when she was confronted by a man who brutally assaulted, raped and killed her, according to retired detective Vince Velazquez, who revived the case in 2002.

Following her murder, the Atlanta police interviewed “hundreds” of people, authorities said, and directed two recruit classes to canvass the neighbourhood.

Officers collected blood samples from at least 50 people, but attempts to find a DNA match were unsuccessful. The case then went cold.

However, two years after being reopened in 2002, the police department linked DNA from her murder case to a sexual assault in East Point. But though the police had a forensic match, they had not identified the suspect. Last year, investigators used genealogy and ancestral databases to identify the suspect.

“It took a little over three years but we were able to develop a person of interest,” said detective Scott Demeester, who took up the case in 2017.

He said that the department learned just after Christmas that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s forensics lab was able to match it to the DNA profile obtained in both cases. But the accused, already dead, was never arrested or charged in either of the cases.

Acqunellia Smith, Nacole’s mother, said that she never imagined this person would be deceased.

“So many unanswered questions I had for him that I can never ask and get answers, but I would never say it was closure for me because I will live with this pain for the rest of my life,” she said.

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Chiamaka Judith Alum
Author: Chiamaka Judith Alum

Good Governance and Human Right Advocate, Content Editor and Data Analyst

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