By Victor Omondi
The culprit in the 1995 rape and murder of 14-year-old Nacole Smith was identified after nearly 30 years of investigation by Atlanta police.
According to CBS 46, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office and the Atlanta Police Department revealed last week that they’ve identified the individual who was responsible for Smith’s heinous killing. Kevin Arnold, 49, was identified as the culprit and died in August 2021 from renal and liver failure.
The case was revisited in 2002, according to retired APD Det. Vince Velazquez. A forensic match was con-ducted in 2004 after a 13-year-old girl was raped in East Point. Authorities were unable to identify the culprit at the time.
Using genetic genealogy, the police were able to connect a DNA sample to the culprit. The match was announced just after Christ-mas.
On June 7, 1995, Nacole was walking to school when she turned around because she’d forgotten an assignment at home. Arnold allegedly attacked her as she cut through a neighboring forested area, authorities claim. Nacole was allegedly attacked, raped, and shot twice in the face, Velazquez said.
Arnold was never charged or arrested for the rape and murders he was accused of, FOX 5 Atlanta reports. Nacole’s mother described the discovery of her daughter’s killer nearly 30 years later as bittersweet.
“I never imagined this person would be deceased, so many unanswered questions I had for him that I can never ask and get answers, but I would never say it was closure for me because I will live for this pain for the rest of my life,” she stated.
When Velazquez retired, he handed the investigation up to Detective Scott Demeester. There is no indication that Arnold committed any additional crimes prior to his death, except from the rape and murder of two teenage females.
“I would not have been able to do what I did without a lot of help from a lot of people,” Demeester added. “I was just glad to be able to make that phone call to Mrs. Smith.”