Nacole Smith

Man Who Raped, Murdered 14-Year-Old Nacole Smith in 1995 Died of Kidney and Liver Failure Last Year: Cops

Investigators in Atlanta revealed the identity of the man they say was responsible for the 1995 rape and murder of 14-year-old Nacole Smith as well as another rape almost 10 years later.

Acqunellia Smith, Nacole’s mother, told WGCL anchor Karyn Greer, who had been working the case since it happened, last week that a detective had phoned her to say DNA evidence had given them the suspect, as CrimeOnline previously reported. Atlanta Police said at they time they expected to reveal more information this week.

Investigators talked about the case at a news conference on Tuesday but did not reveal the suspect’s name. They said he had died in August 2021 from kidney and liver failure, WGCL reported. After the news conference, however, they said the suspect was 49-year-old Kelvin Arnold and that he had been in hospice care at the time of his death.

Atlanta Police reopened the case in 2002 and got a break in 2004, when a 13-year-old girl was raped in East Point and escaped. She gave detectives a description of the suspect, and DNA from her case matched that from Nacole Smith’s. No suspect was revealed at the time, but later, genetic genealogy led to Arnold.

Nacole’s mother spoke at the press conference, saying that learning the identity of the man who killed her daughter was bittersweet.

“I never imagined this person would be deceased, so many unanswered questions I had for him that I can never ask and get answers, but I would never say it was closure for me because I will live for this pain for the rest of my life,” she said.

Betty Brown, who was the 13-year-old attack in 2004, also spoke at the press conference. She and Acqunellia Smith have become close over the years.

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[Featured image: Nacole Smith/handout]