DNA cracks 11-year-old rape case
PHILADELPHIA - January 19, 2010 (WPVI) -- The DNA evidence led authorities to 33-year-old Omar Best who was already incarcerated on a felony, but authorities would not yet release more details about it. Now, Best faces rape and robbery charges for a crime that authorities say he committed 11 years ago.
It was January 19, 1999 when an 18-year-old woman got into what she thought was a hack cab at 2 a.m. at Broad and Erie. She says the driver then pulled out a handgun, took her to West Stiles Street, robbed and raped her, then dropped her out of the cab, naked, hours later on a street in North Philadelphia.
It was a cold case, until last April when there was a hit on a DNA database.
"The whole investigation has to be redone. We have to find the complainant," said Captain John Darby of the Philadelphia Police. "In this particular case, 11 years later, you can imagine the challenges."
But now Philadelphia Police have made an arrest in one of many cold cases where grant money allowed for older samples to be resubmitted to the DNA datatbase. The samples were searched with different markers and the updated technology found matches where authorities couldn't before.
"It's enabled us to enhance our capabilities to additional testing, upgrade techniques we've done in the laboratory over the last couple years," says Louis Szojka.
The bottom line, Darby told Action News, is that these cases do not slip through the cracks.
"We do not forget 11 years later," Darby said. "We're still looking for an offender."
In this case, police were successful. Authorities say there's no indication Omar Best is tied to any other rapes at this time.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, rape, dna, crime
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