Camden, N.J. – A man has been arrested in South Carolina and charged in connection to a 21-year-old cold case from Somerdale, according to Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer and Somerdale Police Chief James Walsh.
Sanyika L. Adams, 47, of Summerville, South Carolina, has been charged with the following:
- One count of first-degree Attempted Murder
- Two counts of first-degree Kidnapping
- Four counts of first-degree Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Two counts of first-degree Robbery
- One count of second-degree Aggravated Assault
- One count of second-degree Burglary
- Two counts of third-degree Criminal Restraint
- One count of third-degree Aggravated Assault
- One count of third-degree Terroristic Threats
- One count of third-degree Endangering an Injured Victim
- Two counts of third-degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose
- One count of fourth-degree Possession of a Weapon
Officers from Somerdale, Hi-Nella, Magnolia, and Laurel Springs Police Departments responded to a home on the 400 block of Park Ave. in Somerdale on April 15, 1999, after a woman said she awoke to a man holding a knife to her throat. Police said the woman realized her phone lines had been cut and ran to a neighbor’s home for help after the man left.
When police searched the home, they located a second victim who had been tied up, raped, and stabbed multiple times.
Detectives said DNA was collected from the victim, but a potential match wasn’t located until October of 2019 when the combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS, resulted in a hit on Adams.
As a result of further investigation, including meeting with the victims and locating Adams, detectives traveled to South Carolina to interview Adams and collect a more recent DNA sample for analysis. In November of 2020, the New Jersey State Police lab confirmed that Adams was the source of the male DNA collected from the victim at the time of the rape in 1999.
“This arrest, 21 years after the crime, is the result of DNA evidence and multiagency cooperation. We hope this shows all victims that no matter how much time passes, we will not give up,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer. “This case should serve as a source of hope for others who are victims or know a victim of a cold case. It might take some time, but we will never stop working for justice on these cases.”
Adams was taken into custody on Dec. 4 in South Carolina and is awaiting extradition to New Jersey.
All persons charged with crimes are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.