• DNA helps CMPD arrest suspect in teen girls' 1988, 1994 sex assault cases

    By: Glenn Counts

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have arrested and charged a man in connection with two sexual assaults of teenage girls dating back to 1988 and 1994.

    Police said 49-year-old Zellie Edwards was taken into custody Feb. 8 for his ties to cold cases from September 1988 and April 1994.

    Officials said they responded to a sexual assault call on Nations Ford Road on the night of Sept. 29, 1988. Police said the 16-year-old victim was walking home when someone followed her, pulled her into a vacant apartment and sexually assaulted her.

    In a related incident on April 19, 1994, police said a 17-year-old girl was walking home on West Boulevard when someone approached her, started a conversation and sexually assaulted her in a wooded area.

    In both cases, authorities said the victims were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and evidence was collected.

    Police said the evidence was tested in 2017 and DNA evidence confirmed Edwards as the suspect in both cases.

    CMPD officials said the victims were thankful to hear about his arrest.

    "Both are local still and were very, very appreciative," Lt. Melanie Peacock said. "Both of them were very grateful, and I think they both each made the comment that they were just glad they hadn't been forgotten about."

    Edwards faces two counts of second-degree rape and one count of second-degree kidnapping.

    "Justice can be slow, but it's just a testimony that we don't give up,” Peacock said.

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