ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- We’re learning more about a system that helped Odessa Police solve an eight-year-old cold case. The system, known as CODIS, or the Combined DNA Index System, helped identify Javier Castillo-Arias as a suspect in a sexual assault case from October 8, 2015.

The database allows law enforcement to match evidence from investigations across the state and country. It allows investigators to identify suspects in certain cases, if a DNA profile from a case matches another on file; it also shows investigators if unknown DNA samples in a case match crime in other jurisdictions. 

In a joint effort between OPD’s Cold Case Division and the Texas Rangers, investigators identified Castillo-Arias using these methods. Corporal Steve LeSueuer spoke to ABC Big 2 News about why it’s so important to have a team dedicated to these cases.

“It’s so crucial that we have a cold case team, because we never give up on cases, whether it’s a sexual case, a murder…it’s so important to have. It gives the victims and the public hope. We’ve been able to solve numerous cold case crimes as a result of the cold case unit we have,” he said.

LeSueuer said the department hired its first cold case detective several years ago and since then, OPD has closed several cases, some even decades old.

“There’s been some where a serious incident occurred 25 to 30 years ago and we were able to solve it decades later because of our cold case division and their efforts,” he said. 

Many of these crimes, such as murder and sexual assault cases do not have a statute of limitations, OPD said.

Right now, law enforcement agencies here and across Texas are still tracking other crimes across the state in which Castillo-Arias may be connected. We will keep you updated as that investigation unfolds.