DNA helps solve 1996 rape, murder of North Philadelphia teen

Rafael Crespo, 46, has been charged with the rape and murder of 17-year-old Anjeanette Maldonado, who was found dead in North Philadelphia in October 1996. (Photo: Philadelphia Police)

The case of a rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl that has been cold for nearly 17 years was solved this week thanks to DNA evidence, police said.

On Oct. 2, 1996, officers found 17-year-old Anjeanette Maldonado dead on Hope Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia. Her murder remained unsolved until Monday, when police say a DNA sample obtained during the investigation and entered into the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Combined DNA Index System came up as a match to a convicted man in Florida.

Rafael Crespo, 46, whose DNA matched that found at the crime scene where the teen’s body was found, was charged Monday with murder, rape, sexual assault and related offenses in the nearly two-decade-old case, police said.

Crespo is currently being held at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on State Road. Philadelphia police said they are unsure what Crespo was incarcerated for in Florida when the DNA match was discovered.