In Cleveland on Monday, convicted sex offender Elias Acevedo Sr. pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder and 295 other counts related to kidnapping and the chronic sexual abuse of his three daughters.
Acevedo was convicted, in part, on DNA evidence from rape kits that were only tested in the wake of the Ariel Castro case. On May 6, 2013, Amanda Berry, Georgina “Gina” DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were rescued after having been kidnapped, held captive, raped and tortured by Castro for over a decade.
When investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigations’ Violent Crime Task Force first presented Acevedo with evidence that he had chronically abused his three daughters for over thirty years, he denied having done so.
The FBI then confronted him with evidence that he was involved in the 1995 disappearance of Christina Adkins. At first, Acevedo denied any involvement in Adkins’s disappearance, but when the FBI offered to remove the death penalty from the table, he confessed.
He told them that he had chanced into Adkins while she was five-months pregnant with his cousin’s child. He tried to have sex with her, but she refused, so he raped her. When she threatened to expose him to his wife and cousin, he “snapped” and killed her, storing her body in an unused utility vault, where it remained for 18 years.
Acevedo also confessed to murdering Pamela Pemberton in 1994 after she, too, refused to have sex with him. Only at this point did he admit to having sexually abused his three daughters, chronically, while they lived under his roof.
Cleveland officials consider solving these “cold cases” from the 1990s a victory. A number of serial sex offenders stalked the streets of Cleveland in the 1990s, and because of the backlog of untested rape kits, many thought these cases would never be solved.