Sex offender charged in 1990s rape cases

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A registered sex offender accused of raping two teenage girls in the 1990s has been charged.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say they arrested 56-year-old Warren Lee Caldwell last week following a positive DNA match.

Caldwell is accused of sexually assaulting two teens who were 17 and 18 at the time.

The 18-year-old reported a man, later identified as Caldwell, sexually assaulted her and robbed her on Oct. 16, 1990. It happened around 3:32 a.m as she was backing up her car on Samuel Street.

"He pulled a rouse on her by tapping the back of her car. She thought she had hit someone. She stopped," said Sgt Darrell Price. "He forced her back into the car where he committed a sex assault on her, took a couple of items from her then fled the scene."

Then, four years later.

The 17-year-old told police she was waiting at a bus stop on Feb. 4, 1994, when Caldwell forced her into his vehicle, drove to another location and sexually assaulted her before letting her go. Police say it happened around 8:56 a.m. in the 2400 block of North Tryon Street.

Sgt Price said at the time of the attacks the two cases were not linked. They were different in methods of operation, were four years apart and both investigations went cold.

Back then police departments didn't have the technology to process and test DNA evidence.

Now, there is.

Under a grant, CMPD said the department submitted hundreds of cold case rape kits to be tested at a private lab.

The two from 1990 and 1994 were included and police say technicians recently got a hit with DNA evidence confirming that Caldwell was allegedly involved in the cases.

Last week, police arrested Caldwell for raping the two young girls - almost 30 years ago.

"Both are extremely positive and want to move forward with prosecution in these cases," Sgt Price said. "They were extremely grateful that this program takes place."

Caldwell is charged with two counts of second-degree rape, common law robbery, and first-degree kidnapping.

"Caldwell is a registered sex offender who was convicted in 2002 of Indecent Liberties with a Child," CMPD tweeted. "He has been arrested more than 50 times, but was not incarcerated at the time of his arrest."

Anyone with additional information in these cases is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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