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APD Uses DNA from Sexual Assault Kit Backlog to ID Alleged Offender in Two Cold Case Rapes

Van Riley Overton Jr. Charged for Rapes in 1997 and 2004

February 14, 2020

APD Sex Crimes detectives used DNA evidence from the Sexual Assault Kit backlog to track down an offender tied to two Cold Case rapes in Albuquerque and Mountain View, CA.

The offender, Van Riley Overton, Jr., was arrested by APD detectives in Albuquerque on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, and extradited to California to face charges. He will face charges in the Albuquerque rape at a later date.

“As we eliminate the backlog, we are starting to see the results during follow-up investigations,” Sergeant Amanda Wild said. “Our Sex Crimes detectives and victim advocates are working hard to solve crimes and bring closure for survivors.”

DNA that was recently tested from APD’s backlog of kits matched evidence from a 1997 rape in Albuquerque. The DNA also matched a profile from a 2004 rape that occurred in Mountain View, CA.

The Albuquerque victim reported a rape in April 1997 after attending a party. A Sexual Assault Evidence Kit was collected at the time but was not analyzed until late 2019 as part of the effort to clear the backlog of rape kits.

The Mountain View, CA, victim reported a rape in 2004. Her Sexual Assault Evidence Kit was analyzed at the time, but the DNA did not match a known profile until the evidence in Albuquerque was tested recently.

Investigators with APD and the Mountain View Police Department worked together to identify the suspect. A background investigation into Overton shows he had moved to Mountain View, CA, in 2002 and moved back to Albuquerque in 2006.

On February 7, officers with APD interviewed Overton and obtained buccal swabs. An expedited analysis was done and the swabs matched DNA recovered from both rapes.  A warrant was issued and Overton was arrested on Feb. 9.  He was extradited to Mountain View California on Feb. 10.

When Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller took office, he signed an executive order calling on APD to create a comprehensive plan for clearing the backlog, including funding streams. The City is now on track to clear the backlog this year.

Total # of Kits: 5,418

Total # Kits Tested: 5,391

Of the 5,391 kits, 4,350 kits were outsourced

Total # of Kits Remaining: 27