Decades old rape cases solved following surge in DNA rape kit testing program

Results follow exclusive 5 On Your Side report

CLEVELAND - A surge in DNA testing has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of suspected rapists identified through testing of rape kits that have sat untested on police department shelves for years.

The testing is part of the Ohio Attorney General's Sexual Assault Initiative that called on police departments from across Ohioto  send decades old rape kits to a state crime lab for testing.

"We thought they had value," says Attorney General Mike DeWine.

"We didn't know how much--I've been stunned."

An Exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation in February, 2013 was the first to reveal  that 2,124 untested rape kits had been turned over--but only 479 had been tested.

Since our report first aired, nearly all of them, 2093,  have now been tested--with dramatic results.

In addition, the total number of rape kits across Ohio that have been submitted for testing has doubled to 4,548.

Among the results:

*688 have identified DNA involving suspected rapists

*426 DNA matches involving Cleveland rapes

"We're running one out of every three that we test--we're getting a hit on," said DeWine.

The Attorney General's Office reports 2,099 rape kits that had gone untested were submitted by the Cleveland Police Department.

More than half of those, 1,071, have now been tested.

"So we're going back to police departments and saying, hey, that case 17 years ago--we know who your rapist is," said DeWine.

Meanwhile, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty has beefed up a special cold-case unit to track down suspected rapists.

Within one month of our initial report, the first two criminal indictment were filed.

60-year-old Charles Steele and 42-year-old Anthony Moore were charged with separate rapes dating back to 1993.

And testing is identifying serial rapists like 48-year-old Delbert Buckwald who was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for 3 rapes.

"It's been significant," says Assistant Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Rick Bell.

"In my 25 years in office, I have never seen this much energy by the county prosecutor put into solving cold cases."

As a result, 59 suspected rapists have now been indicted, including serial rapist Elias Acevedo.

Acevedo also confessed to one of Cleveland's most sensational unsolved cases involving the nearly two decade long disappearance of 18-year-old Christina Adkins.

Acevedo confessed to her murder after his DNA matched a separate 1993 rape case.

"As we know, Acevedo is a killer,", said Bell.

"I think we are going to find out there are other serial killers."

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