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DNA testing helps solve 2007 Tampa sexual battery case

Police say after a 14-year search for a resolution in the case, they've finally got one.

TAMPA, Fla. — A case that has gone unsolved for 14 years finally has a resolution thanks to the help of DNA testing.

The Tampa Police Department says it all started back in 2007 when an unknown man, now determined by authorities to be Jared Vaughn, walked a woman home before sexually battering her.

Assistant Chief Ruben Delgado says evidence, including DNA, was collected from the crime scene but detectives ran into several dead ends in the case.

That's until March 2020, when the case was re-examined in an effort to develop new leads and introduce genetic genealogy testing.

DNA from 2007 was sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement lab for a familial search but it "failed to yield a match." Detective then moved to the Parabon NanoLabs GEDmatch and Family Tree DNA databases to continue the search for a match.

One year into the genealogy testing journey, the Tampa Police Department says it was notified of a potential match. To confirm what the database found, the police department says it obtained a DNA search warrant and made its way to West Virginia where Vaughn was living.

A swab was taken and further testing from the FDLE revealed the crime scene DNA matched Vaughn's with a 1 in 700 billion chance he was the individual the police department had been searching for, for 14 years.

“It’s taken 14 years for resolution in this case but it's something that was important for us, something important to the victim that would put closure to this case," Delgado said.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Special Agent In Charge Mark Brutnell believes the case would still be unsolved if not for the advanced technology. 

"It’s one more tool in the toolbox for these detectives to use," he said.

Vaughn faces a charge of sexual battery after surrendering to the Orient Road Jail, according to detectives.

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