DNA from spit links cage fighter to sexual assault

9:41 PM, Sep 22, 2011   |    comments
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INTERACTIVE: Jeffrey Ford case timeline

Jeffrey Ford of Lone Tree, 41, is facing kidnapping and sexual assault charges for allegedly raping a prostitute in Aurora in 2009. A national DNA database links Ford's DNA to two other rapes in San Francisco and Kansas City, Missouri, according to the warrant, although he faces charges only in the Colorado case.

"Anytime we can put a serious offender away should be peace of mind for the public," Aurora Police spokesperson Cassidee Carlson said. "Real life detective work requires patience, and I think this case is a prime example."

The 2009 case involving the Aurora prostitute became active again this past June when a crime analyst located Ford using a partial license plate number.

Ford, also known as "Big Diesel," became an even stronger suspect when detectives learned he served ten years in a Missouri prison for attacking and raping an 87-year-old woman when he was 17, according to the arrest warrant. Ford was sent to prison in 1987.

Months after his release from prison, a woman in Kansas City reported to police she was raped.

With his criminal history in mind, Aurora investigators began surveillance on Ford with the intent of "surreptitiously collecting his DNA." After Ford was seen spitting at a gas station, investigators collected a sample.

The investigative technique is rare, said Carlson, "but on a case like this, it's very serious. We are talking about a sexual assault. It paid off."

The Combined DNA Index System, also known as CODIS, matched Ford's DNA profile to the 1997 rape in Kansas City and a 2003 Rape in San Francisco.

Dr. Phil Danielson of the University of Denver, who testifies in court as forensic DNA expert, credits CODIS for solving numerous cold cases.

"CODIS has allowed us to connect crimes that may appear unrelated to each other on the basis of DNA," Danielson said.

Unless Ford has an identical twin, Danielson says the chances his DNA profile matches another person are extraordinarily small.

"One-out-of-hundreds-of-trillions to one-out-of-quadrillions," Danielson said.

9Wants to Know met with Jeffery Ford at the Adams County Detention center, but he would not go on the record about the current charges.

Ford is not facing charges relating to the Kansas City or San Francisco cases. In Kansas City, too much time has passed for investigators to legally file charges and in San Francisco, the victim has passed away.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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