Man arrested, charged in 22-year-old cold case rape in Tampa

Hillsborough County


TAMPA (WFLA) – More than two decades after a woman was sexually assaulted in Tampa, authorities say they have put the man involved in the attack behind bars.

James Byrd, 60, was arrested in Marion County on Wednesday morning after DNA evidence connected him to the 22-year-old cold case, officials said

According to a police affidavit, the attack happened on March 8, 1998, police say a man pulled up to the victim who was walking in the area of Columbus Drive and I-4 in Hillsborough County and offered her a ride.

In September 2020, using genetic genealogy to develop new leads and probable cause in the case the report indicated Byrd was a possible suspect.

Using a multitude of detective techniques on Nov. 23, 2020, a DNA match was created between the victim and Byrd.

Byrd denied the allegations after meeting with deputies. On Dec. 4, 2020, an FDLE lab report indicated the DNA match is 700 billion times more likely to be a match to Byrd than to an unrelated person.

Byrd has been charged with armed kidnapping and sexual battery.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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