by: Tenikka Smith Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Prosecutors believe Jerry Lee Brooks is the man known as the
ski mask rapist, accused of terrorizing and assaulting women in Charlotte in the late 1970s.
Amy Outen is a victim of the ski mask rapist and said the brutal attack changed her life forever.
"I think it was a game for him. I think it was his drug to chase women and attack them," said Outen.
Amy Outen said
she was attacked in her apartment on Central Avenue in August 1979.
"I went into my apartment, took my groceries
in, left the door open, went back out to the end of the building to get my mail. When I came back in I had left the door open, not thinking. It was on the second floor, and he was behind the door and attacked me from behind," said Outen.
The incident turned her world upside down, and the attention on her case and the cases of the other victims started to dwindle as the days, weeks, months and years passed with no suspect and no arrest.
"I felt like I couldn't be alone anymore. I could not pursue my dreams, and I did not want to have a lot of attention," said Outen.
Then, this summer, Outen was contacted by a detective with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Sex Assault Cold Case Unit.
"He said, 'You remember this case in 1979 on Central Avenue where you were living and that we never got any results
from?' He said, 'We have a cold case unit now, and we've found him," said Outen.
Late last year, the unit, created in 2006, found DNA evidence in the unsolved cases. The data was analyzed by the crime lab and revealed that the assaults were linked.
A match from a DNA database identified Brooks as the suspect.
In June, Brooks was arrested in Surfside
"Right now, I am just grateful that I can put some closure to this," said Outen, "In my mind, I can die knowing that the Police Department did take care of this. That's what I want people to know. The cold case unit is so important for other
families, too. Please don't give up hope."
Police say DNA linked Brooks to
three cases. Brooks is facing a number of charges, including rape and kidnapping.
Brooks' case is still making its way through court.
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