By KARYN GREER, JOSH MORGAN
ATLANTA (WGCL) — The family of Nacole Smith says they now know who killed their daughter more than 26 years ago.
Acqunellia Smith, Nacole’s mother, reached out to CBS46 anchor Karyn Greer Wednesday telling her a suspect has been named in her daughter’s death.
Smith tells CBS46 that DNA evidence has helped identify the man who police say beat, raped, and then shot and killed her 14-year-old daughter back in 1995.
Through the use of genetic testing, and new ancestral DNA tools that were not available 25 years ago, investigators were able to find a link, and then come to a final conclusion on a suspect.
However, at this time, CBS46 is not releasing the name of the suspect, as Atlanta Police say they are following up on some new information, but not all the information has been confirmed. Police say they will announce further details in the case sometime next week.
Back in 1995, Smith was walking to school in Southwest Atlanta, but turned back around after forgetting a school assignment at home. She cut through the nearby wooded area, where police say she was attacked.
Earlier this year, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office decided to take another look at the case, by re-examining and testing evidence never tested before.
DNA from the rape kit taken in 1995 after Smith’s murder matched DNA from a rape kit in a separate incident in 2004, in which a 13-year-old girl was raped in a wooded area in East Point. There, the victim made it out alive, and was able to give investigators a description of the suspect.
CSI Atlanta had kept Nacole’s case in the spotlight and worked with a GBI forensic artist to create an updated sketch of the killer in 2019.
One year later, there was a break in the case, when the Georgia Bureau of Investigation found a link through new ancestral DNA testing. Investigators were able to find a second cousin twice removed from the suspect.
But at that time, the next steps were uncertain, with investigators telling CBS46 processing that match could take several years. It appears that timeline moved faster than expected.
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