A sexual assault evidence kit contains forensic evidence gathered from a victim‘s body during an intrusive, hours-long examination. Testing kits can find DNA evidence used to identify rapists, boost prosecutions or exonerate the falsely accused.
Newly tested DNA evidence led to an arrest of a suspect 24 years after a 16-year-old reported being raped near present-day Bank of America Stadium, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Friday.
But the department was able to complete more testing on the kit in 2018, as part of a federal grant.
The DNA evidence identified 59-year-old L.J. Bertha of Charlotte as the suspect, police said Friday.
Police arrested Bertha without incident on Wednesday, according to the CMPD release. He was interviewed at police headquarters, taken to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and charged with second-degree rape, first-degree kidnapping and common law robbery.
“When they arrived to the 900 block of Dunbar Street, the suspect grabbed the victim’s arm, pulled her through some bushes and sexually assaulted her,” according to the CMPD release.
Dunbar Street is off South Mint Street across Interstate 277 from the stadium. The stadium opened in summer 1996.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.