A Jersey Shore man with a dark past is now being held accountable for his alleged actions from 25-years ago as Detectives in Atlantic County have cracked a cold case open thanks to DNA evidence.

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Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Cary Shill announced Monday that her office will be detaining Brian Lee Avis, 59, of Egg Harbor City following his arrest last week for sexually assaulting a 10-year old girl inside of her home in Brigantine in 1996.

Brian Lee Avis was also charged by New Jersey State Police and Brigantine Police last week for the sexual assault that occurred during a home invasion.

Atlantic County Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Flammer will represent the state at Avis’ detention hearing before Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Dorothy M. Incarvito-Garrabrant on Wednesday.

According to information passed on to Atlantic County Prosecutors by New Jersey State Police, a man broke into the Brigantine home on East Evans Boulevard in the middle of the night on July 19, 1996 and sexually assaulted the girl while she was sleeping.

When she woke up, he took off.

Brigantine Police responded to the home and Detectives collected a DNA sample of the suspect from the girl's bed and when they put the mans DNA sample into CODIS, there were no matches at that time.

Then in January of 2021, suddenly the case was reopened.

NJSP Cold Case Unit Detectives along with Brigantine Police worked on the reopened case and then brought in help from the NJSP Office of Forensic Sciences and a private investigative genetics company and through the combined efforts, the evidence was resubmitted and a they got a "more robust DNA sample" for the suspect.

Then on July 26, detectives submitted that DNA to a private laboratory for analysis and to determine any blood relatives.

After an analysis and the ongoing investigation, Brian Lee Avis was identified as the suspect.

Detectives located Avis on September 12 and brought him to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, where they executed a search warrant for his DNA, then obtained the sample by using a buccal swab, which collects DNA from cells inside of a person’s cheek and after it was submitted for forensic analysis, it revealed a positive match to the DNA obtained at the scene all those years ago.

Avis was arrested the next day and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child under 13 years old, sexual assault of a child under 13 years old, burglary, and endangering the welfare of child.

He remains inside the Atlantic County Justice Facility.

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