By Betty Yu

Mountain View (KPIX) – A man suspected in sexual assault case first reported to police 15 years ago, is behind bars after DNA evidence put investigators on his trail.

At the time of his arrest, Van Overton, Jr. was not shying away from attention. He was very involved in his community in Albuquerque as a child advocate, spoke at a TEDx event last year, and was honored by the city as volunteer of the year.

(Morgan Hill Police Department)

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On Friday, the 45-year-old became a suspect, after authorities in Albuquerque were able to test a rape kit that sat in a backlog for more than 20 years.

“They zeroed in on Mr. Overton and it matched exactly from these two alleged rapes,” said Gilbert Gallegos with the Albuquerque Police Department.

Albuquerque Police say the alleged rape happened back in 1997. Overton was in his early 20s. In a police report, a woman claims he asked her to step outside with him at a party, and then sexually assaulted her.

“Once we outsourced that, got the results back, detectives started looking for that and they discovered that there had been a hit on that case of another rape in 2004 in California,” said Gallegos.

Mountain View police say a woman, who was 42 at the time, told police a suspect broke into her motel room and sexually assaulted her for nearly half an hour before leaving. DNA evidence was collected from her pillow.

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“APD detectives started working immediately with the Mountain View police to try to piece together exactly who the perpetrator might be,” Gallegos said.

Sixteen years later, Mountain View Police say they never gave up on bringing justice to the victim.

“She’s very relieved and what she told me was she’s finally able to get a good night’s sleep, and stop sleeping with one eye open,” said Captain Jessica Nowaski with the Mountain View Police Department.

Captain Nowaski was the original detective assigned to the case.

“I’m just grateful that Albuquerque found the funds and made the direction to the crime lab and the police department to get out of their backlog of sexual assault kits, so we could have closure on this case,” she added.

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Overton, Jr. was arrested on various charges including sexual assault and burglary with the intention to commit rape. He has been extradited back to Santa Clara County and is being held without bail.