Cold Case Rape of 12-Year-Old in Bronx Solved Thanks to Detective's Dedication and DNA Evidence - NBC New York

Cold Case Rape of 12-Year-Old in Bronx Solved Thanks to Detective's Dedication and DNA Evidence

"I can finally say happy and proud, that Detective Crowley kept her promise," the letter the teen wrote to the dedicated police officer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Bronx Cold Case Rape Solved 4 Years Later Thanks to DNA Evidence

    A dedicated detective, who promised a scared 12-year-old girl she would bring the man who raped her to justice, got to deliver on her promise thanks to a breakthrough from DNA evidence that pointed to a suspect with a lengthy criminal record. NBC 4 New York’s Marc Santia reports.

    (Published Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019)

    What to Know

    • A NYC teen wrote a heartfelt letter to a Bronx detective who delivered on a promise she made four years ago: To catch the man who raped her

    • A DNA match was found at one of the NYPD’s labs just a few days ago, connecting a man with a lengthy criminal record to the rape

    • "I can finally say happy and proud, that Detective Crowley kept her promise," the letter the teen wrote to the dedicated police officer

    A New York City teenager wrote a heartfelt thank you letter to a Bronx detective who delivered on a promise she made more than four years ago: She would catch the man who raped her as a 12-year-old getting off the bus.

    “Dear Detective Crowley, I personally want to say thank you to you and the police force who helped solve my case,” the letter reads. “I was afraid to go outside knowing the person who hurt me was still wandering the streets undetected.”

    The girl lived in fear ever since the February 2015 attack that changed her life forever. Getting off the bus wearing her school uniform and clutching a princess lunch box, the sixth-grader was grabbed by a stranger at East Tremont and Southern Boulevard in Crotona. She was led away to place where the man raped her, and the attack was caught on surveillance video.

    But even with the camera capturing the scene, the case went cold with little in terms of developments. No witnesses came forward, no one was willing to talk.

    But NYPD Detective Diane Crowley did not give up, and soon her faith — and more importantly, all her hard work — gave them something to get excited about.

    “Four and a half years of checking in and saying, ‘Unfortunately we have no new developments,’ ‘Unfortunately we have no new developments’ — but knowing that we had DNA, there was a little glimpse of hope,” Crowley told News 4.

    Crowley was the lead detective on the case, and she made it her mission to solve the case and bring some justice to the girl and her family. Nearly five years after the random attack, the combination of old fashioned and high tech police work paid off.

    LightRocket via Getty Images

    A DNA match was found at one of the NYPD’s labs just a few days ago, connecting a man with a lengthy criminal record to the rape. Just as it seemed like the case was hitting a wall, science was there shed new light on it and lead police to an arrest.

    “I promised them that I would never forget them. I promised them that I would never give up, and I promised them that eventually I would catch the person that did this to her,” Crowley said. “It was closure. It was closure for everyone and it was extremely emotional.”

    The case was broken thanks to a gun arrest, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said, with an individual who was caught with an illegal firearm while gambling. Shea says that labs analyzing DNA has been a game-changer for law enforcement, not only pointing to wanted suspects but also pointing away from the innocent.

    “The direction it points may not be to the individual we were looking at initially,” Shea said. “It exonerates far more people than it leads to arrests.”

    In this case, the 16-year-old rape survivor is well aware of the importance of unrelenting NYPD detectives and DNA technology.

    “Thanks to DNA, four-and-a-half years later the police were able to track the person who hurt me,” her letter for Det. Crowley reads. “I just hope anyone else going through what I have been through keeps hope.”

    And as for Det. Crowley, she doesn’t need DNA evidence to know that her work has made the difference in a young girl’s life — the heartfelt and thankful words in the teen’s letter are proof of a promise kept.

    “I remember the first time I met you, you promised me and my family you were going to catch the person who did this,” the letter reads. “Now I’m 16 years old and I can finally say happy and proud, that Detective Crowley kept her promise.”

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