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She Says: What We Haven't Told You

Greg Harris

This episode we share with you what we haven’t told you. Additional evidence in Linda’s case. Why we think this mysterious DNA hit occurred. And we find out how many hospitals in North Carolina have nurses specially trained to complete a sexual assault examination. 




Editor’s note: This podcast includes adult language and themes. It also contains descriptions about sexual violence. Please be advised.

This episode has been updated since we originally published it to clarify a detail regarding the location of where Linda says she met the man charged in her attack.



SARAH DELIA: Sometimes, the small victories are the most important: the ones that make you feel a sense of accomplishment, that may go unnoticed by the rest of the world. No one else may see your win, but it’s there, and it means something.

That’s how Linda felt as she walked out of the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. A judge granted her request for a 50C, a no-contact order. It’s basically a piece of paper that orders the defendant not to have any communication with the plaintiff. So, no phone calls, texts or in-person visits. It’s not a criminal order, so if it’s violated, it doesn’t always mean there’s an arrest, but it does start a paper trail that could be helpful as far documenting a pattern of unwanted behavior.

This is just the first step, though. It was an ex parte hearing, basically a hearing where only the plaintiff needed to be present. The order is only temporary. To make it last a whole year, the defendant - the man charged with Linda’s assault - will need to be served, and Linda will have to make her case one last time. But we’re not quite there yet.

After that initial hearing, Linda and I walked out of the courthouse together. It was a warm, breezy April afternoon.

LINDA: You feel like you lose your voice. You feel like you lose your say. You feel like you're silenced and not believed, and each time I've been in there, I feel a little bit better, like I'm a little bit more heard and things are a little bit more under my control.

DELIA: She got a little bit of her power back today, she says. And that was a nice feeling.

LINDA: Yes so, you know, I'm just, you know, moving along and I have good moments, and then there's times I've been curled up on the bed just crying, so...

DELIA: She still has moments where she feels frozen, like she can’t take another step. Sometimes the anxiety over the future of her case is what paralyzes her, and other times, what stops her in her tracks is the fear of seeing the man she believes assaulted her face-to-face.

As we spoke outside the courthouse, I saw someone out of the corner of my eye. At first, he looked like a dead ringer for the man charged in her case. When he got a little closer, I could tell it wasn’t the guy. Linda was in the middle of recapping what she had said in court. As the look-a-like got closer, she froze.

LINDA: Ah, the, um, I’m sorry.
SARAH: I know, it's not him.
LINDA: I know.
SARAH: I had the same thought in my head.
LINDA: That is exactly...
DELIA: Yeah.
LINDA: You don’t know how many times that happens. And then even once you know it’s not him, that level of anxiety has already hit.

DELIA: She’s been watching out for this man since she identified him in a Google search in 2015, months after her assault. Now that he knows who she is, that fear has only increased.

There are pieces of information about her case that Linda uncovered by herself without the help of police, but there are other pieces of evidence she had no idea about.

It’s similar to what reporting her story has been like for the last year. We started off with some basic knowledge about the criminal justice system. But as time went on and we continued to dig, there was so much more we discovered. So this episode, we are going to share what we haven’t told you yet. Partly because we didn't know it when we started this podcast.

I’m Sarah Delia. This is She Says.

(end of intro)

DELIA: I want to let you in on some of the reporting we’ve done around Linda’s case that we just haven’t been able to share with you until now.

When the suspect in Linda’s case, the man she identified through an internet search, the man who came back as a DNA match and was arrested in March of 2018, was incarcerated at Jail Central in Mecklenburg County, I wrote to him.

I told him who I was, who I worked for and that I was doing a story about a sex crime he was arrested in connection with. I asked him to call me, or if that wasn’t an option, to write.

Before I sent the letter to the jail, which is located in uptown Charlotte, I put some cash in his telephone account.

I also sent him an electronic message, the jail’s version of email. I bought him a message credit, so he could respond.

I’m not sure if he ever got my letter, electronic message, or noticed I had put money in an account to call me. I never heard from him. We recently sent his lawyer a list of questions and requested an on-the-record interview with him and his client. His lawyer declined to speak to us and said he’s advising his client not to do an interview.

I’m sure you have lots of questions about who this person is. Why do we keep referring to him as him, or the suspect, or the man Linda believes to be Mr. X? Why haven’t we used his name? It’s something my colleague Alex Olgin and I have discussed a lot with our editor Greg Collard and other managers at the station. What it comes down to are two things. Here’s Alex to explain the first one.

OLGIN: We haven’t named him because although the suspect has been indicted, he hasn’t been convicted. It’s currently an open case, and we don’t want to influence a trial if or when it happens.

DELIA: And that brings us to the second reason. There are now public documents that have both of their names. We don’t want to compromise Linda’s anonymity by revealing his name.

Alex has been co-reporting this series, so she’s going to stick around this episode.

We’ve spent a lot of time digging into how this person, the man who came back as a DNA match, got into CODIS - the DNA databases - in the first place. That answer came from something we started to call the 1999 file. What’s in that file is coming up a little bit later this episode.

OLGIN: First, we’re going to dive more into details we’ve been able to confirm about Linda’s case.

From the beginning of her investigation, whether or not she was believed by law enforcement and, specifically, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Detective Christina Cougill has stayed with her.

DELIA: Remember, when detectives Christina Cougill and Cynthia Banner told Linda in June of 2017 there was no way the man Linda identified as her attacker could have done it, Linda was at first shocked. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing. Then, as it sunk in, that disbelief turned into tears.

LINDA: Do you still believe me? You’ve got to.
COUGILL: I believe that something happened. Yes, I do.
LINDA: Do you feel like I have purposely lied about anything?

DELIA: Cold, hard evidence. It’s something Linda worried a lot about. Was there enough evidence in her case to back up her account of events, besides the online identification she made in 2015, months after her assault? In her opinion, that was the key to finding her assailant.

COUGILL: It’s not necessarily about you lying. It’s some of the evidence doesn’t add up, like cameras and stuff.
LINDA: That I can handle. I need to know, I need to know that you don’t feel like I purposely lied about stuff. I need to know that from you.
COUGILL: Why do you need to know that from me?
LINDA: For my sanity. That’s important. Believing me is like… I mean it’s, it’s…
COUGILL: I work, I work my investigations, honestly, whether or not I believe somebody or not.
LINDA: I’m sure.

OLGIN: Cougill tells Linda some of the evidence doesn’t add up like the fact that Linda isn’t visible on camera footage from the 7-Eleven, where Linda says she was with the man who would introduce her to the man charged in her attack. Not showing up on any video camera footage has always disturbed Linda. She wanted visual evidence to place her somewhere relevant to the crime.

DELIA: But it turns out, Linda does show up on some video camera footage. She found out about it at the bond hearing after he was arrested. The hearing where she was sitting in the back of the courtroom with her husband. The hearing when she locked eyes with the suspect.

The prosecution wanted to make sure the judge was aware of two key pieces of evidence. One was that this man came back as a DNA match. The other piece of evidence was news to Linda. I was sitting in the front row of the courtroom that day and recording the hearing. Here’s prosecutor Donna Rainwater.

DONNA RAINWATER (in court): When the victim gave her statement regarding the sexual assault, she indicated that - she described the car. She indicated that after the assault he did drive her to a particular location and let her out. Detectives followed up and looked at the video camera at 9th and College. They did see this particular car that let the victim out. She was seen running through the parking lot before the 911 call was made.

OLGIN: The detectives, Rainwater said, had pulled camera footage from the intersection where he dropped her off. She says Linda is seen running through a parking lot.

DELIA: This was news to Linda and to us. Linda says Detective Cougill never mentioned that she was spotted on this footage.

LINDA: It was nice to hear some additional evidence that they have me on video running from the car. That was good to hear. That would, you know. Why the hell? And that -- I haven't had time to really process that, but if you had that, then why the hell was I questioned for so fucking long. And I'm so sorry to be cussing, but you know, what in God's name? Are you kidding me?

OLGIN: Linda’s been frustrated with the slow speed of her investigation and Cougill’s response time. We wanted to have a better sense of how busy detectives like Cougill are and what exactly their jobs entail.

DELIA: So we spoke to Garry McFadden. He served as a homicide detective for CMPD for more than two decades. He’s retired from the force now. Later this year, he’ll become sheriff of Mecklenburg County. One thing victims or family members of victims don’t realize, he says, is all the different cases one detective has to juggle.

Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden
Credit Logan Cyrus
Incoming Mecklenburg County Sheriff Gary McFadden.

DELIA: How many cases as a homicide detective were you assigned to at a time?
MCFADDEN: That would be, I couldn't give you a number. You are assigned a case until it is...
DELIA: Done.
MCFADDEN: Done. So, say the beginning of the year, you could be assigned 10 cases, putting those 10 cases -- that's your case that's assigned to you…. You may help with 40 cases, so you have to write a report for 50 cases, but that's not the cases from last year. And that's not the cases going forward. So, the caseload is tremendous.

DELIA: Plus, there’s paperwork, he says. Lots and lots of paperwork. Transcribing interviews, chasing down witnesses. Just like crime labs, detectives are backlogged, too.

MCFADDEN: You only have eight hours in a day and then sometimes, it's overtime; sometimes, it's budget.

DELIA: If a detective has to testify in court, that’s time away from their other cases.

MCFADDEN: Say if I I have to go to court and spend two weeks in court, that's two weeks that my case stops. I can’t answer the phone, can't do the follow-up, so it stops for two weeks. When I get back, I'm two weeks behind, but the cases still go on. You still get cases coming in, and so that happens and then it continues. And then you still got to go to court. You still got to testify. You still have to read that 152-page statement that you need to correct. The DA's office said you got a deadline.

DELIA: And then there are all the personal things that come up.

MCFADDEN: You get sick, your wife has the baby. You get the flu, all your personal life comes in. So it is a lot. Yeah, it's a lot.

DELIA: Case in point, over the course of Linda’s investigation, Cougill has taken personal leave. She’s gone on vacation. She’s been assigned new cases. It’s not hard to see how things start to build up.

We asked CMPD about detective caseloads and the staffing of the sexual assault unit. Here’s what we know. CMPD has six detectives working active adult sexual assault cases.

OLGIN: For the last 12 years, CMPD has had a cold-case sexual assault unit with one full-time and a handful of part-time detectives. CMPD calls cases cold when all the leads have dried up.

DELIA: We asked about what a typical caseload is like for a CMPD detective. We were told that CMPD was working on an evaluation of the case screening process that determines the number of reported cases assigned to detectives for follow-up investigation. Because of that, they couldn’t give us an answer.

OLGIN: We requested and reviewed all of the police reports for adult sexual assaults in Charlotte for 2015, 2016 and 2017. It was a lot of data to sort through.

There is a wide range in the number of new cases each detective gets assigned each year. Over the last three years, we can see a steady increase in the number of new cases assigned to Detective Cougill.

DELIA: The police reports include a category called “detective assigned.” We looked at that category to see how many new cases Cougill got assigned each year. In 2015, it was 25. One of those cases, of course, was Linda’s. In 2016, she was assigned 34 new cases. In 2017, that number jumped to 47.

OLGIN: These numbers don’t represent her full caseload. Remember what former Detective McFadden said: A detective works a case until it’s closed. But what these numbers do show, is that Cougill has a lot on her plate. It’s not just Linda’s case. Still, Linda doesn’t know that.

An example of a sexual assault kit.
Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE
An example of a sexual assault kit.

DELIA: Linda spent a lot of time worrying about something that’s not much bigger than a cardboard shoebox - her sexual assault kit: if it had been processed and what the results were.

OLGIN: In Episode 2, we spoke to two sexual assault nurse examiners, or SANEs, who detailed the precise steps of a sexual assault exam.

DELIA: Linda’s kit was part of a backlog at the CMPD crime lab. Eventually, it was tested. Linda went to a hospital that had SANE nurses. This hospital had sexual assault kits. It was close to where she lived. Some of our listeners have pointed out that’s not always the case.

Amanda called in and left us a voicemail. She’s a recent college grad. She says she was raped by someone she knew while she was attending a small liberal arts college in Tennessee.

AMANDA VOICEMAIL: I went, and I reported it to the police, and I thought at the time like, you know, I'm doing the right thing, and it was really stressful, especially because it was somebody I knew pretty well. I didn't get a sexual assault kit done because I would have had to drive 45 minutes to the closest hospital that does them.

DELIA: Because of the distance, Amanda didn’t get a sexual assault exam done.

OLGIN: Another listener, Leah Griffin, contacted us from Seattle, Washington. She says after she was raped, she went to a hospital to get a sexual assault exam done.

LEAH GRIFFIN: I walked in, told them what had happened. They looked at me, and they said, ‘We don't do rape kits here.’

OLGIN: Hours later, she was able get a sexual assault exam done at another hospital. But she says the delay in care contributed to the prosecutor's decision not to press charges in her case. And, it added to her trauma.

LEAH GRIFFIN: I thought at first it must be a one-off, and so I reached out to everyone that I could. I reached out to the city council, the county council, legislators, and one of the first people to reach back at me was Senator Patty Murray from Washington.

DELIA: [Leah] wanted every survivor to have access to rape kits, the kind of access she didn’t have. She’s worked with Democratic Senator Murray on legislation that would do just that. On July 12, 2018, Senator Murray and Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski reintroduced the Survivors Access to Supportive Care Act. The goal of this legislation is to expand access to care for sexual assault survivors, including native women and women living in rural communities -- two underserved groups. The bill is in committee.

OLGIN: We reached out to the International Association of Forensic Nurses. It’s a membership-based group for forensic and SANE nurses. The organization has a fair amount of anecdotal evidence that suggests there’s not enough SANE programs or access to sexual assault exams nationwide, but as the group points out, they’re not a clearinghouse of mandated information.

Jennifer Pierce-Weeks
Credit Courtesy of Jennifer Pierce-Weeks
Jennifer Pierce-Weeks

Jennifer Pierce-Weeks is the CEO of IAFN. She’s been a sexual assault nurse examiner since 1995.

PIERCE-WEEKS: Emergency departments certainly should be prepared to care for the sexual assault victims, and that care includes evidence collection. Victims have many options regarding evidence collection, and hospitals really need to be prepared to offer those services. The gold standard of care is having sexual assault nurse examiners available 24 hours a day.

DELIA: She says having previously worked in rural settings, she understands that funding and finding the resources for a 24-hour SANE program may be an impossible challenge for some hospitals, but there should always be options for victims.

PIERCE-WEEKS: We believe that there really is an ethical obligation for those institutions to make sure there’s a minimal level of training for those emergency room nurses and doctors to properly and comprehensively care for sexual assault victims.

DELIA: Pierce-Weeks also says when patients don’t have access to an exam, whether that’s because of distance to a hospital or availability of kits, it can create long-term health problems.

PIERCE-WEEKS: The risk of STDs following sexual assault is real. HIV, that is real. And more to the point from a health care perspective is the long-term problems that this patient population goes through, from PTSD and clinical depression and anxiety and things of that nature, are critical.

DELIA: We looked for comprehensive data regarding what hospitals around the country have SANE nurses and/or do sexual assault exams. We didn’t find much.

Since Alex and I are based in North Carolina, we wanted to see how many hospitals here had kits and SANE nurses.

So Alex made a lot of phone calls.

OLGIN (on several phone calls): Right, so I’m working on a series of stories in the form of a podcast for my local station in Charlotte…
That answers my question. Thank you so much…
No, all I want to know is if you guys has sexual assault nurse examiners and if you have kits available...
If you have the kits and if you have the SANE nurses, and if you don’t have the SANE nurses, can other members of your staff do a kit...

OLGIN: After reaching out to the 121 hospitals licensed to the state health department, a little more than half said they had SANE nurses and kits. As Pierce-Weeks said, that’s the gold standard.


DELIA: About a fourth had sexual assault kits, but they didn’t have SANE nurses. In those cases, an exam would be done by other medical professionals.

OLGIN: Five hospitals with emergency departments don’t have kits at all. Meaning if someone shows up to those facilities after a sexual assault, they’re gonna have to go somewhere else to get a exam done. Eight hospitals didn’t return our calls.

DELIA: We have more to share after this quick break. I’m Sarah Delia.

OLGIN: I’m Alex Olgin.

DELIA: This is She Says.


DELIA: So much of Linda’s case has revolved around DNA. Let’s do a quick recap. On June 23, 2017, Linda went to the CMPD headquarters in uptown. She met with Detectives Cougill and Banner. They shared the lab results from her sexual assault kit with her.

Credit Greg Harris

OLGIN: Two male profiles were found in her kit. One only showed up on the evidence collected from her hands. In an email, we asked Captain Melanie Peacock what was being done about this sample in Linda’s kit. All she said was no additional lab analysis is pending.

DELIA: She pointed out that in some cases DNA profiles can be found unrelated to the crime that occured. We interpret that to mean police are not looking further into that sample.

OLGIN: The other DNA profile in her kit was found both on her hands and in her mouth. Remember, she says she was forced to perform oral sex. That is the sample we are going to focus on, because that is what Cougill focuses on. And that’s where the mystery hit comes in.

DELIA: We’ve talked a lot about it. How was it possible that there was a DNA hit from the CODIS databases that matched DNA found in Linda’s sexual assault kit that was considered ineligible?

OLGIN: As we detailed in earlier episodes, this mystery hit happened in in March 2017, but Cougill didn’t know, so she couldn’t tell Linda about it until four months later in July.

The whole thing was sort of a mess. And it was confusing. Linda asked for clarification from Cougill in a November 2017 conversation. This is how Cougill explains it.

COUGILL: At the time that he did the offense, which was in the 90s, his DNA was taken and put into the system.

DELIA: The only clue we had was that his DNA was likely taken for a crime committed in the 1990s. So we started from the beginning of his criminal history, maybe we would be able to figure out how he got into CODIS in the first place.

After looking at court documents, we saw a particular crime that stood out to us. He was convicted of selling cocaine in 1999. We spent months digging into this because the state lab wouldn’t confirm details because that information isn’t public record.

OLGIN: It’s important to note [that] under current state law all convicted felons are in CODIS, but it wasn’t always that way. That part of the law went into effect in 2003. That’s the change we are going to take a closer look at.

DELIA: We requested documents from his 1999 drug conviction. We began to refer to it as the 1999 file. Many court documents are available on the spot, but we had to wait for this older file because it was on microfilm. A week later, when it was sent to us, we learned several things. We already knew he was arrested for selling drugs in 1999. But it turns out, he was sentenced to probation in 2001. As long as he didn’t violate his probation, he would avoid prison time -- otherwise known as a suspended sentence.

OLGIN: But that didn’t happen. In 2003, he was reported for violating his probation because he wasn’t at his address of record. It took law enforcement a while to find him and bring him back to court in Mecklenburg County. That happened in 2004, and that’s when a judge sentences him to prison.

DELIA: In this 1999 file is a piece of paper that answers our first question: when his DNA was obtained and likely put into CODIS, the system of databases that holds the DNA of convicted felons, some people convicted of some misdemeanors as well as arrestees charged with the most violent crimes.

OLGIN: We were in a recording studio working on the podcast when we got the email with these documents. It provided the answer we had been searching for.

DELIA: OK, we are looking at documents from like 1999, 2001.
OLGIN: It’s the criminal conviction from ’99 where he goes to prison in ’04. And I just found something that I think solves the CODIS question. I’m looking at this document called Judicial Findings to Required DNA SAMPLE.

OLGIN: That Judicial Findings for DNA sample form was signed in 2004 by Mecklenburg County Judge Robert Bell - he’s still on the bench. That piece of paper orders the man to go to the Mecklenburg County Jail and have his blood drawn and sent to the state crime lab. Then, the DNA profile would be uploaded to CODIS.

Credit Greg Harris

DELIA: What’s important to the lab is the date someone is convicted of a crime and the date he or she goes to prison, because that’s the qualifying information that makes someone eligible to be in CODIS. The people working at the state crime lab have to make sure they pay attention to those two dates. If they don’t, they could accidentally enter someone into CODIS who was never supposed to be there.

OLGIN: And to add to the complexities of this process, DNA law keeps changing. William Hart is the deputy attorney general at the state crime lab. It’s his job to keep all those changes straight.

DELIA: The change in 2003 was a big one. Starting December 1, 2003, all convicted felons would need to submit a DNA sample that would be uploaded to CODIS. Hart couldn’t comment on what happened with the sample from the man charged in Linda’s case, but he walked us through a similar scenario.

HART: A lot of times, especially with lower-level felonies, is you'll see that there is a suspended sentence. So they might be convicted in June of 2003, get a sentence of probation and it's not until maybe 2004 or so that that probation is revoked and that they become incarcerated. So you can't say that they were both convicted and incarcerated before December 1, 2003, and that's what the statute requires.

OLGIN: And that’s what happened with this man. He committed and was convicted of the crime before the law changed but went to prison after the law changed, and that’s when Judge Robert Bell did what has become routine since the 2003 law went into effect.

BELL: … I sign an order at the same time I do the judgment. They remain in the audience because they've got to meet up with the probation intake officer. They get their paperwork from probation, and then a deputy will take them over to the jail at the time -- sometime that morning or that afternoon. And the DNA will be taken there.
OLGIN: So you've signed thousands of these orders.
It’s totally no big deal?
BELL: Exactly.

DELIA: Remember, it’s up to the state crime lab to check and make sure the DNA sample is eligible to be in the database.

OLGIN: To the best of our knowledge, that is how the defendant’s DNA got into CODIS even though it wasn’t supposed to be there. Because even though he was convicted, he hadn’t been incarcerated before December 1, 2003. We asked Hart how often this happens. He says it’s really rare.

HART: We took sort of an estimate just from anecdotal memory, and I think it's well less than 1 percent of hits are to an ineligible sample.

OLGIN: But ineligible samples need to be taken out, and quickly. Because if the FBI found out that North Carolina was not following the rules about DNA profiles in its state-level database, it could jeopardize it’s access to the full CODIS system.

DELIA: So yes, there are lots of moving parts when it comes to CODIS and DNA laws. It’s confusing. Throughout Cougill’s investigation of Linda’s case, she’s periodically checked in with the state lab to verify that the man Linda says is her assailant is in fact in CODIS. At some point, the lab had confirmed he was. That’s why Cougill initially tells Linda the man she identified can't be her attacker because if it was, his DNA would have come back as a match.

DELIA: But something changed in July of 2017. That’s when Cougill finds out there was a hit on Linda’s kit, but the lab can’t tell her who it was. That sample was removed, according to CMPD Captain Peacock. This means Detective Cougill doesn’t know the identity of this mysterious DNA hit.

OLGIN: But she does have one clue: Linda’s online identification. And she assumes the hit and the man Linda identified is the same one who has been removed from CODIS. So, she starts pursuing him. In August 2017, she files a request for a court order. This court order would make the lab reveal the name of this mystery hit. And guess which judge receives that request?


OLGIN: Of all the judges in Mecklenburg County, Judge Bell is the one that gets this request. The same judge who 13 years prior signed the court order that put this man’s DNA into the database. We should say this is just a crazy coincidence. No one even realized the connection until after we had talked to Judge Bell.

He’s been a judge in Mecklenburg County for more than 20 years. We had requested an interview with him to talk about the DNA form he signed in 2004. He agreed to talk to us since it’s a closed case.

We also asked him about detectives appealing to a judge to make the lab reveal a DNA matches name. Basically, is what Cougill attempted to do with the court order common? At the time, we didn't realize he was the one who reviewed Cougill’s request for a court order.

OLGIN: I’m just wondering, did you get those kinds of questions? Is that something that comes before you as a judge.
BELL: Do you know the answer to the question?
OLGIN: Whether or not...
BELL: It's ever come before me?
OLGIN: I don’t.
BELL: When you say that, the reason I
asked, when you say that there's something in the back of my mind thinking I may have seen that at some point, but I don't have any because, again, it's not routine. And if it's happened, it's probably happened one time. And I can't even tell you for sure whether it happened one time or whether I'm thinking of something else.

DELIA: It turns out our questions jogged his memory, and a few days later, we got a call from a courthouse official saying that Judge Bell was the judge that responded to Cougill’s request. In August 2017, he wrote a memo to Cougill. He said, according to the law, the state lab decides the eligibility of samples in CODIS. If the sample is in there correctly, a court order isn’t necessary.

Once again this was a crazy coincidence. We did not know about this connection until after the interview. Basically, it’s a really small world.

And one more point about this DNA collection process: You may be wondering, so when it’s all said and done, is this person, the man arrested in connection with Linda’s assault, is he in CODIS now?

In February 2018, Detective Cougill had collected a cheek swab from him while he was in court for another charge, and that sample is what matched to the DNA found in Linda’s sexual assault kit.

OLGIN: It was collected only to compare his DNA to Linda’s kit. But his DNA should be in the system now because when he was arrested in March another DNA sample was taken. We know that because in his case file, there’s a paper documenting it.

DELIA: There is one last thing we haven’t told you. It has to do why Linda decided to file for this 50C, a no-contact order, against the suspect in the first place.

During the two weeks the suspect was incarcerated at Jail Central in Mecklenburg County, Linda got a notification on her LinkedIn profile, a networking site for professionals. It was alerting her that someone new had checked out her profile page.

Linda wanted to know who this person was, so she clicked back. When Linda clicked on the profile page of the person who had clicked on hers, she saw the face of a woman. It was a face Linda wasn’t terribly familiar with.

But the woman’s name was. It was the name of a woman Linda had read about in court documents. It was the name of a woman who had taken multiple domestic violence protection orders out against the same man. It was the name of a woman Linda learned had children in common with the man charged with Linda’s assault.

This woman had a relationship with the man who Linda says assaulted her in 2015. And, she had looked Linda up. She knew who Linda was.

And next week, before we part ways with Linda on the winding road in the final episode of She Says, Linda will come face to face with this woman, and the man she believes to be her assailant.


She Says is written, produced and reported by Sarah Delia. Our editor is Greg Collard. Joni Deutsch is our producer. Alex Olgin is our reporter. She co-wrote this episode. Music is provided by Pachyderm Music Lab. Keep the conversation going on Twitter using the hashtag #WFAESheSays. You can tweet at Sarah Delia directly @SarahWFAE. If you want next week’s episode in your feed as soon as it comes out, make sure to subscribe to She Says on NPR One, Apple Podcasts or wherever you find podcasts. You can find more information about the podcast at WFAE.org/shesays.

Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.


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Sarah Delia covers criminal justice and the arts for WFAE. Sarah joined the WFAE news team in 2014. An Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist, Sarah has lived and told stories from Maine, New York, Indiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Carolina. Sarah received her B.A. in English and Art history from James Madison University, where she began her broadcast career at college radio station WXJM. Sarah has interned and worked at NPR in Washington DC, interned and freelanced for WNYC, and attended the Salt Institute for Radio Documentary Studies.