DNA from a 43-year-old man accused of raping a woman in Akron on Christmas Day has led to charges in three other rapes in the city that date back to 2011.
Prentice L. Smith of Anderson Avenue was indicted by a Summit County Grand Jury on rape and kidnapping charges earlier this month and remains in the Summit County Jail.
This marks the first case involving the recently formed Akron Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (ASAKI) team of three police detectives, working alongside the Victim Assistance Program of Summit County, the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties and a Summit County assistant prosecutor.
ASAKI is devoted to re-investigating more than 1,000 sexual assaults cases that led to dead ends after investigators failed to submit rape kits for DNA testing. The unit not only aims to bring justice in those old cases, but also to change the culture of how Akron treats future victims of sexual assault.
In Smith's case, detectives zeroed in on him as a suspect after the Christmas rape. They did not say what led them to him. But once they had his DNA, they discovered it matched other unsolved cases, including one in which a man with a handgun ordered a woman he didn't know to get into his car before driving away and raping her, police said.
Smith, it appears, drove all of his victims to a secluded area where he assaulted them, police said.
Until now, Smith's only other felony charges in Summit County were for failing to pay child support in 2006.
Police urge any other potential victims of Smith to reach out to the ASAKI unit at 330-375-2228.
Amanda Garrett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @agarrettabj.