Uptown Greenville, NC


Center for Advanced Forensic DNA Analysis Helps Solve 14-Year-Old Cold Case

Greenville, NC Police Department
July 28, 2014

A 14-year-old cold case has been solved after a DNA profile was formed off evidence submitted to a private lab in Greenville – it’s the first case to be solved from submitted DNA since the lab opened its doors earlier this year.

On February 14, 2000, at approximately 1:30pm, a Belk Department Store employee was leaving the store to make a cash drop when he was approached in the parking lot by a black male wearing a ski mask. The suspect demanded the employee hand over the cash and fled the scene. Immediately following the crime, investigators recovered a ski mask in the parking lot.

Over the next 14 years, leads ran dry, but major crimes detectives with the Greenville Police Department never gave up on solving the case. Earlier this year, detectives submitted evidence to the recently-opened Center for Advanced Forensic DNA Analysis (CAFDA) in Greenville. CAFDA analysts were able to develop a DNA profile off the mask recovered at the scene. That profile was compared with DNA profiles in CODIS, a national database of DNA profiles from offender and case samples, and was eventually linked to an out-of-state suspect.

CAFDA was recruited to Greenville by city and county officials; including Mayor Allen Thomas; City Economic Development officer Carl Rees; City Manager Barbara Lipscomb; Police Chief Hassan Aden; Sheriff Neil Elks; Wanda Yuhas and the Pitt County Development Commission; the Pitt County Committee of 100 and employees at the N.C. Biotechnology Center.

"The collective efforts to recruit the Center for Advanced Forensic DNA Analysis (CAFDA) to Greenville have proven to be worthwhile,” said Greenville Police Chief Hassan Aden.

“Since I had my first conversation with Michael Heffernan, CAFDA CEO, I knew that this very unusual resource would help us lower crime by being able to submit ‘Touch DNA,’ as well as traditional DNA samples, and receive DNA profiles within days rather than years,” he added.

Currently, one person has been arrested in connection to the robbery. He is scheduled to go before a Grand Jury this morning. Detectives have obtained arrest warrants for a second individual involved. The case is still under investigation and additional arrests are imminent.

Chief Hassan Aden and GPD Major Crimes detectives will host a press conference at GPD Headquarters at 1:15pm today. More information about the suspects will be available at that time.