CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department says a serial rapist is behind bars in one of the oldest cases they've solved.

64 year-old Johnny Ealey is accused of two different rapes in 1981 on Beatties Ford Road.  The arrest is putting a spotlight on an issue the NBC Charlotte Defenders team has been investigating for years.  Our investigation found many rape kits went untested, but back in 2015, CMPD changed its policy requiring all kits be tested.

CMPD says Ealey is charged for raping two women, but they suspect he’s involved in more sexual assaults.   They’re calling the arrest a success story for DNA testing.

NBC Charlotte previously talked to one woman in another rape case who found justice decades later.   The woman described her experience at 20 years old, when she was raped by Jerry Brooks in 1979.

“Someone violates and rapes you in your own home,” the victim told NBC Charlotte with her face hidden.  “(He) grabbed me and had a ski mask on.”

Now, another man is charged for multiple rapes just two years later in 1981.  Police say 64 year-old Johnny Ealey sexually assaulted two women, after breaking into their homes on Beatties Ford Road.   As with Brooks, DNA linked Ealey to the crimes, according to CMPD.

“It’s still exciting every time we get an email from the crime lab saying there’s been a DNA match,” said Sergeant Darrell Price with CMPD’s Sexual Assault Cold Case Unit.

After an NBC Charlotte Defenders investigation about untested rape kits, CMPD changed its policy in 2015 requiring all rape kits be tested.   However, just last year the average age for untested rape kits was nearly five months of those turned in between January 1, 2016 and July 2018.   Police say they’re continuing to use federal grants to help with the ongoing backlog.

“That helps us outsource,” Sergeant Price said.

CMPD says Ealey served prison time in Georgia for a series of burglaries.  He was on parole as the rape charges were filed. 

“He is a serial rapist, he has committed sex crimes across at least two states,” said Sergeant Price.

Ealey is now in a Georgia jail awaiting extradition to Charlotte.  Police say one of his two victims has passed away.   The woman who was victimized by Jerry Brooks described what justice felt like after waiting many years.

“The satisfaction it gives us to know he is behind bars right now for what he did to us as young woman,” she previously told NBC Charlotte.

CMPD says the Sexual Assault Cold Case Unit has cleared 40 cases just this year.