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Teen was raped in 1988. A suspect was charged Wednesday, after 30 years

Mark Price, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in News & Features

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- DNA evidence has linked a 49-year-old Charlotte man to the rapes of two teenage girls, including one case dating back to 1988, according to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.

Zellie Edwards was charged Wednesday with two counts of second-degree rape and one count of second degree kidnapping, reported police department's Sexual Assault Cold Case Unit.

Investigators say the first case dates to Sept. 29, 1988. At approximately 11:35 p.m., officers responded to a sex assault call in the 8500 block of Nations Ford Road. The victim, who was 16, said she was walking home when a man began following her. He then pulled her into a vacant apartment where he sexually assaulted her, police reported.

The second incident was April 19, 1994, at approximately 12:04 a.m., police said. Officers responded to the 1900 block of West Boulevard, where a 17-year-old said was walking home when the suspect began walking with her. He engaged her in conversation before sexually assaulting her in a wooded area, police said.

Both victims were taken to hospitals for treatment and evidence was collected, police said. In 2017, evidence from the cases was included for testing as part of a federal grant CMPD received. DNA evidence confirmed Edwards as the suspect in both cases, police said.

He was found and arrested on Feb. 8 without incident.

The CMPD Sexual Assault Cold Case Unit has reviewed 2,886 cases since it began in 2006.

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