Jackson County is finishing up its federal grant to review violent cold cases with charges in a 30-year-old attack.
In July 1986, a 36-year-old Kansas City woman was sexually assaulted in the East Bottoms by two men. This week, Cleophus Parker, one of the two men suspected in the attack, was charged with rape, sodomy and robbery.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said it "feels wonderful to be able to solve a case and charge a case, but there's a real victim on the other side of this case." This victim wants to proceed in the case.
More than 4,300 cases have been reviewed thanks to the federal grant the county received in 2009. Since then, charges have been filed in 53 cases and sentences of more than 1,500 years have been handed down, including 35 life sentences.
"That's how much work was put into this. It took many, many cases for us to go through to reach cases like this one," Baker emphasized. "It allowed us to have an infusion of expertise through a process through a lot of old backlogged cases. We don't have that anymore. While we still have work to do, rest assured that we're going to keep doing it."
Although the grant was a powerful tool for the prosecutor's office, she told 41 Action News their work is not done.
Baker said, "Our goal is to make sure that we've turned over every possible investigative lead so that there's far fewer of those victims out there wondering who, who's responsible for the crimes that happened to them."
Parker remains in custody in a Missouri prison.
Dia Wall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.