A rape kit test in New Mexico led authorities to find the suspect in a Silicon Valley sexual assault case that was left unsolved since 2004.
In a press release today, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced that Van Overton Jr., a 45-year-old from Albuquerque, pleaded guilty this week to attacking a woman who was asleep in a Mountain View motel room 16 years ago.
Overton entered his plea on Tuesday, admitting to forced oral copulation during a burglary. He’s scheduled to be sentenced to 25-to-life on Nov. 12.
“This case illustrates the importance of testing rape kits in a timely manner,” prosecutor Barbara Cathcart said in a prepared statement issued Wednesday. “It is vitally important to getting justice for sexual assault victims and to getting serial rapists off the streets.”
Authorities say that in February 2004, Overton broke into a window of the now-shuttered Lucky U Motel in Mountain View, where he sexually assaulted his victim.
The woman immediately reported the crime to the Mountain View Police Department, which collected biological evidence from the scene.
A crime lab analysis could find no match to the DNA, however. So, the case went cold.
The breakthrough came earlier this year when Albuquerque police tested a DNA profile from a 1997 rape case and entered the sample into a national database. That allowed the Santa Clara County crime lab to identify the match that ultimately led to Overton’s arrest.