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VIDEO: DNA Matches South Carolina Fugitive, 47, With 1999 South Jersey Rape. Attempted Murder

A 47-year-old man was arrested on Friday in South Carolina and charged in connection to a 21-year-old cold case from Somerdale, New Jersey
A 47-year-old man was arrested on Friday in South Carolina and charged in connection to a 21-year-old cold case from Somerdale, New Jersey Video Credit: Camden County Prosecutor Office video
Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer, center, and Somerdale Police Chief James Walsh, left, during a news conference on Friday's arrest in a 21-year-old rape, robbery and attempted murder case. A photo of the 47-year-old suspect is at right. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

With the help of DNA, South Jersey authorities believe they have cracked a 21-year-old rape and attempted murder case.

A fugitive from South Carolina was arrested on Friday in connection with the 1999 robbery, rape and attempted murder of two women in Somerdale, NJ, according to Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer and Somerdale Police Chief James Walsh.

Sanyika L. Adams, 47, of Summerville, South Carolina, has been charged with:

  • One count of first-degree Attempted Murder
  • Two counts of first-degree Kidnapping
  • Four counts of first-degree Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Two counts of first-degree Robbery
  • One count of second-degree Aggravated Assault
  • One count of second-degree Burglary
  • Two counts of third-degree Criminal Restraint
  • One count of third-degree Aggravated Assault
  • One count of third-degree Terroristic Threats
  • One count of third-degree Endangering an Injured Victim
  • Two counts of third-degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
  • One count of fourth-degree Possession of a Weapon

Detectives said DNA was collected from one of the victims, but a potential match wasn’t located until October 2019 when the Combined DNA Index System, also known as CODIS, resulted in a hit on Adams, Mayer and Walsh said at a news conference, which can be viewed by clicking here.

A fresh DNA sample was taken from Adams, and the NJ State Police lab on Nov. 25 concluded that it matched the rape suspect's DNA from 1999, Mayer said.

Adams was taken into custody on Friday in South Carolina and is awaiting extradition to New Jersey, the prosecutor said.

Police officers from Somerdale, Hi-Nella, Magnolia, and Laurel Springs responded to a home on the 400 block of Park Ave. in Somerdale early April 15, 1999, after a woman said she awoke to a man holding a knife to her throat. Police said the woman realized her phone lines had been cut and ran to a neighbor’s home for help after the man left.

When police searched the Camden County home, they found a second victim who had been tied up, raped and stabbed multiple times, authorities said.

As a result of further investigation, including meeting with the victims and locating Adams, detectives went to South Carolina to interview Adams and collect a more recent DNA sample for analysis, Mayer said. 

“This arrest, 21 years after the crime, is the result of DNA evidence and multiagency cooperation. We hope this shows all victims that no matter how much time passes, we will not give up,” Mayer said. “This case should serve as a source of hope for others who are victims or know a victim of a cold case. It might take some time, but we will never stop working for justice on these cases.”

To watch the Camden County news conference on the 21-year-old case, click here.

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