Crime & Courts

DNA helps nab man accused of raping woman, leaving her in trash bin 26 years ago, cops say

What happens in a rape kit exam?

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.
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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.

DNA evidence led to the arrest of a North Carolina prison inmate in connection to a 26-year-old Charlotte rape case, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said in a news release Tuesday.

In June 1992, a 27-year-old woman was raped in the 2200 block of Rama Road after she accepted a ride home from a man, CMPD’s news release said. The assailant “dragged” the woman from his car and “forced” her into a dumpster , according to the news release. He then drove away, police said.

“The victim was treated at the hospital and a sexual assault kit was collected,” CMPD’s news release said. “The sexual assault kit was initially tested in 1992, and additional testing was completed on it in 2017 as a part of a federal grant CMPD received.”

Police said, “DNA evidence confirmed Kenneth McIllwaine as the suspect.”

Kenneth McIllwaine.jpeg
DNA evidence helped lead police to charge North Carolina prison inmate Kenneth McIllwaine, 52, in connection with a 1992 rape that occurred in Charlotte, police said. Mecklenburg County jail photo from 2016

The 52-year-old McIllwaine is in Tabor City Correctional Institute for a 1995 rape, police said. In that case, he was identified through DNA in 2015, according to the CMPD news release.

In the Charlotte cold case, police charged McIllwaine with first-degree kidnapping and second-degree rape.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak
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