Prosecutors in Atlantic County are asking a judge to deny bail to a man who has been charged with sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl a quarter of a century ago in Brigantine.

Brian Lee Avis, 59 of Egg Harbor City, was arrested last week and is facing 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 charges.

According to the State Police, on July 19, 1996, officers with the Brigantine Police Department responded to the report of a sexual assault at a home on East Evans Boulevard. Cops say a man allegedly broke into the residence and sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl while she was sleeping.

Detectives collected evidence at the scene and obtained a DNA sample of the suspect from the victim’s bed. Years later, there was no match in a national DNA collection database.

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This past January, however, the State Police Cold Case Unit and the Brigantine Police Department reopened the case and reanalyzed the DNA sample. Cops say they identified Brian Lee Avis as the suspect.

Recently, cops located Avis and collected a new DNA sample from the inside of his cheek which, they say, was a positive match to the DNA collected at the crime scene back in 1996. He was arrested last Monday.

"No matter how long ago a crime occurred, we are committed to ensuring those who break the law are held accountable," said Acting Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck said in a written statement. "I want to recognize the outstanding job by all law enforcement officers involved in the review and reinvestigation of this case. Their persistence in the search for justice reflects the very best of our law enforcement profession."

Avis continues to be held in the Atlantic County Jail. A detention hearing is set for this Wednesday in Atlantic County Superior Court.

Anyone with additional information about this case, or ones like it, is asked to contact Detective Sgt. John Glasser of the Brigantine Police Department at (609) 266-7600.

The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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