Rape suspect Melvin Yarbor back behind bars after ABC15 investigation

A Phoenix man with a history of violent sexual assaults is back behind bars because of an ABC15 investigation.

Melvin Yarbor was arrested Monday after police matched his DNA to an unsolved 2002 sex assault.

Phoenix police said Yarbor sexually assaulted an 18-year-old homeless woman after picking her up at a bus stop near 17th and Washington avenues.

After the attack, the woman submitted to a sexual assault examination and evidence was stored in what's called a rape kit. But detectives didn't test the kit for DNA because they couldn't locate the victim after she reported the crime, officials said.

ABC15 is withholding the woman's name because she is a victim. Police said she is now a patient at the Arizona State Hospital.

In November 2012, the ABC15 Investigators exposed there were more than 3,000 untested rape kits in the Valley. The Phoenix Police Department accounted for more than half of the total.

See ABC15's original investigation on abc15.com

After the story, Phoenix officials promised to review all of their cases. As a result, they sent more than 200 untested kits to be processed and changed their internal protocols to make sure more kits are tested in the future.

In the past, Phoenix police did not automatically test all rape kits involving unknown suspects if a victim could not be found or if the victim didn't want to prosecute. Based on policies changed after ABC15's report, the department does now.

"It helped us close this case for this particular victim," said Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump. "Hopefully, it will help provide us with additional suspect information in the future."

Yarbor was convicted in 2008 for three other sex crimes, court records show. He spent four years in prison and was released in March last year.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 13.

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