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DNA advances the key to unlocking assault cases

ELKHART – Advances in collecting, storing and comparing DNA are helping investigators make arrests and track suspects in sexual assault cases whose trails had long run cold.

Elkhart County Prosecutor Curtis Hill tells the South Bend Tribune that DNA matches recently led to an arrest in a 1988 rape of a 10-year-old girl.

Prosecutors caution that a match is only a first step. They have to convince a jury that a suspect was in the area at the time of the assault and that the sex wasn’t consensual.

They also have to research what laws were in effect at the time of the incident.

Even with the challenges, experts say the advances mean there could be ways to solve crimes today that didn’t exist 25 years ago.