DNA from sexual assault kit backlog identifies suspect in 2 cold-case rapes

Crime

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – He was done in by DNA from the backlog of untested rape kits that Albuquerque Police have been trying to clear. The man who was arrested for those cold-case rapes does not shy away from attention.

From TED Talks to being an advocate for change, Van Overton Jr. can now add suspected rapist to his resume.

“They zeroed in on Mr. Overton and got his DNA. It matched exactly with these two alleged rapes,” says Gilbert Gallegos with the Albuquerque Police Dept.

APD says the alleged rape happened back in 1997 at a party in Nob Hill when Overton was in his early twenties. In a police report, a woman claims Overton asked her to step outside with him and then sexually assaulted her.

She gave police Overton’s name, but the rape kit was never tested until late last year. Detectives found a match.

“Once we outsourced that, got the results back, detectives starting looking for that and they’ve discovered that there’d been a hit on that case of another rape in 2004 in California,” says Gallegos.

That case happened at a motel in Mountain View, near San Jose. Mountain View Police say a 42-year-old woman told them Overton broke into her room and raped her.

“APD detectives starting working immediately with Mountain View Police and trying to piece together exactly who the perpetrator might be,” Gallegos says.

Last week, APD got a DNA swab from Overton and matched it with the rape kits. He was arrested two days later.

The Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office says they’re in touch with the woman from the Albuquerque case and they will be indicting Overton in the next few weeks. They say they’ll launch their case against Overton once Mountain View is done with theirs.

In an online bio, Overton claims he worked as a volunteer at an after school program at Zuni Elementary.

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