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Man Arrested in Rape Case After 15 Years

Smyrna police arrested Miguel Hernandez in Jenkins County in relation to a 1998 rape case.

A DNA match helped the investigation of a Smyrna rape case from almost 15 years ago.

Smyrna police arrested 39-year-old Miguel Hernandez Wednesday in Jenkins County and charged him in the March 3, 1998 rape of a former Smyrna woman.

Authorities said the victim, a family acquaintance of Hernandez, was 19 years old at the time. On their way returning to a Smyrna residence after going to the store, Hernandez stopped at Rose Garden Park, and sexually assaulted the victim, said Smyrna police spokesman Michael Smith.

On Oct. 30, 2012, Smyrna detectives received notice of a Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) match with evidence collected from the scene and Hernandez. The following day, detectives traveled to Jenkins County and obtained a warrant for the collection of a DNA sample from Hernandez.

Earlier this Tuesday, the Smyrna Police Department received confirmation that Hernandez was a match with physical evidence found during an examination of the victim 15 years ago. Authorities obtained an arrest warrant for Hernandez the following day.

Smith said the normal Statute of Limitations for a rape is 15 years, but in a case where DNA is present, Georgia state law permits prosecution regardless of the time frame.

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