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DNA evidence leads to 13 Virginia Beach cold case rape suspects

Posted at 7:43 PM, Jul 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-24 11:51:47-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - Court records show DNA evidence links Charles Williams Jr. and Clarence Speller to the rape of two girls in Virginia Beach in the 1980s.  Police put them behind bars last summer, but a judge dismissed the cases.  Prosecutors told NewsChannel 3 it was because witnesses who could confirm the original rape kits were properly handled are now dead.

“There`s a lot of hurdles that you are faced with.  Time,” said Virginia Beach detective Angela Curran.

Curran has been on a mission to solve cold case rapes in the resort city since last year.  She has been laser focused on resubmitting evidence from decades-old rape kits taken when DNA testing did not exist.  The hope is that the DNA evidence may match someone in the national DNA databank for other violent crimes.

A report released in July  by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science reveals there are nearly 2,400 rape kits that have not been submitted for DNA analysis by state law enforcement agencies.

The report said some reasons are valid, like the reports being false or victims deciding not to pursue charges; however, it does say that some of them should have been submitted for further testing.

“All the cases that we had that could have been sent to the lab, have been,” said Curran of Virginia Beach rape kits.  “During the ‘80s, they weren`t doing DNA testing then, so that`s what we`re working towards now is to get the kits tested with the technology that we have today.”

That is how Curran nabbed Williams and Speller last year.  While those cases were dismissed, many others are pressing through the courts.

“We are doing it as quickly as we can and trying to get to all of those cases,” she said.

Curran said she resubmitted more than 30 rape kits from the ‘80s for DNA testing, leading to the identification of 13 suspects.  Eight of them have been arrested so far.

“We have to continue to do what we can to bring justice to those victims,” Curran said.

Rape Kit Report