FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - Prosecutors said thanks to the work of investigators combing through Georgia's backlog of DNA rape kits, a perpetrator was finally named in cases linked to the sexual assaults of at least 15 girls and women.
Deandre Shabazz, 54, was indicted on charges related to cases of 11 victims. Prosecutors said they are still actively searching for four known women who they believe were victims of Shabazz, and ask others who believe they could be victims to come forward.
Some of the cases remained unsolved for up to 16 years. Investigators said from December 2001 to May 2005, Shabazz targeted women between the ages of 15 and 22 who were walking alone at night, and after he drove up to them, forced them into his car, held them at gunpoint, and drove victims to a park or abandoned home to sexually assault them.
Prosecutors said Shabazz was arrested in August 2005 for robbery and had been sitting in federal prison since 2006 for his sentence. He was set for release in 2019.
Investigators said one of the rape kits linking Shabazz dated from 2003 sat at Grady Memorial Hospital for years, until in 2015, when state officials worked to clear the backlog of more than two thousand cases statewide of rape kits sitting on shelves.
In 2017, the Fulton County District Attorney's Office said it was notified that the male DNA in the 2003 rape kit matched Shabazz. He also was a match for a dozen other cases, the office said.
[The victims] reacted like this had happened to them yesterday. They remembered the incidents, the sexual assaults in chilling detail," said Irina Khasin, a prosecutor who works with the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Task Force at the Fulton County District Attorney's Office. The task force works to bring charges against attackers as DNA matches are found among the backlog of rape kits through the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
Anyone who believes they could be a victim is asked to contact the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative Task Force at 404-612-4948.