DNA From 1997 Leads To Prison Time In Mount Laurel Sexual Assault

A Pennsauken man whose DNA connected him to a Mount Laurel home invasion and sexual assault 25 years ago has been sentenced to eight years in New Jersey State Prison.

Rodolfo Vasquez, 63, must serve 85 percent of the term before becoming eligible for parole, according to Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw

He told the court when entering the plea that he went into a Camber Lane home in June 1997 without authorization and sexually assaulted a woman who was home alone. The victim, whose name is being withheld by the prosecutor’s office, attempted to defend herself and was struck by Vasquez multiple times, resulting in permanent vision damage in one eye.

The original investigation began in June 1997, when Mount Laurel police met with the victim.

The intruder grabbed her and began striking her in the head, she said. He sexually assaulted her and told her not to call the police, then fled. 

The responding officers discovered that a rear sliding glass door had been forced open. They recovered evidence at the scene, and the victim agreed to have a sexual assault examination performed at a hospital.

The biological evidence was submitted to the New Jersey State Police crime laboratory, which generated a DNA profile, but failed to identify a suspect when entered into a national DNA database.

In August 2020, the Mount Laurel Police Department was notified that the DNA profile from the 1997 case had been matched to Vasquez through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is overseen by the FBI.

Vasquez had been required to submit a DNA sample after pleading guilty to Contempt of a Judicial Order stemming from his arrest for driving without a license in 2019 in Cinnaminson, the prosecutor said.

A search warrant was secured and another DNA sample was collected from Vasquez which matched the one collected during the investigation in 1997, the prosecutor said.

“This case strongly demonstrates the value of the CODIS database as a law enforcement tool,” Bradshaw said.

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