9 Investigates major DNA break in 20-year-old Volusia County rape case

by: Karla Ray Updated:

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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Detectives in Volusia County believe they have solved a 20-year-old rape case thanks to the testing of a backlog of thousands of rape kits.

Investigators said they interviewed a man in December and January in connection with the case and have arrested him in connection with a 1997 rape.

The rape kit in the case was one of more than 13,000 that sat untested for years until $2.3 million was allocated in July to clear out the backlog.

The victim in the case, who was a teenager at the time, still lives in the area and wants the man prosecuted.

The suspect in the rape has not been identified by deputies.

Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Pat Thoman said DNA from the rape kit was key in making an arrest in the case.

“Really, without the evidence from the DNA kit, we would still be in the same position in that case without knowing a suspect,” he said. “Sending it to the lab was a huge benefit.”