An Atlantic County Grand Jury returned an 8-count indictment on Tuesday, November 30, against Brian Lee Avis, 59, for the sexual assaults of a 10-year-old Brigantine girl in 1996 and a 5-year-old girl in Galloway Township in 2003, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Cary Shill announced.
The indictment returned today by the Grand Jury includes the following charges:
- Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Victim Under the Age of 13
- Attempted of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Victim Under the Age of 13
- Sexual Assault of a Victim Under the Age of 13
- Endangering-Sexual Conduct with a Child
- Burglary-Entering a Structure; to Inflict/Attempt to Inflict Bodily injury
According to Prosecutor Shill, in September, Avis was charged with Sexual Assault of a Juvenile, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Burglary in connection to a 2003 incident that occurred in Galloway Township.
The charges against Avis came after Galloway Township Police Det. Sgt. First Class Ryan Goehringer received correspondence on September 20 from the New Jersey State Police AFIS Lab with regards to a delayed fingerprint hit.
According to Prosecutor Shill, the delayed fingerprint hit was confirmed and came back to Avis in connection to a sexual assault and burglary case investigated by Galloway Township Police on July 18, 2003.
Prosecutor Shill said that the charges against Avis from Galloway Township Police come one week after detectives from the Brigantine Police Department and the New Jersey State Police Cold Case Unit charged Avis in connection to a 25-year-old sexual assault case of a 10-year-old girl.
According to Prosecutor Shill, Avis’ fingerprints were taken by Brigantine Police at the time of his arrest on September 13 for the sexual assault of the 10-year-old Brigantine girl in 1996.
Avis’ fingerprints were uploaded to the New Jersey State Police AFIS Lab. They produced a match to fingerprints recovered in 2003 by Galloway Township Police at the scene of the sexual assault of the 5-year-old girl on July 18, 2003.
According to Prosecutor Shill, on July 18, 2003, at 11:43 p.m., Galloway Township Police were dispatched to a home for a report of a burglary.
Prosecutor Shill stated that upon arrival, the mother of the juvenile victim advised that she observed a male hastily exiting the home. The mother of the 5-year-old female victim told police that when she encountered her daughter, the child’s pajama bottoms were pulled down.
1996 Brigantine Sexual Assault of 10-Year-Old Girl
According to Prosecutor Shill, on July 19, 1996, the Brigantine Police Department responded to the report of a sexual assault at a residence on East Evans Boulevard in Brigantine City, Atlantic County.
Prosecutor Shill stated that a male suspect allegedly broke into the residence in the middle of the night and sexually assaulted a 10-year-old girl while she was sleeping. When the victim woke up, the suspect fled the scene.
Detectives collected evidence at the scene and obtained a DNA sample of the suspect from the victim’s bed.
The suspect’s DNA profile had been generated in 2002 and was uploaded into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), which is a national DNA collection database. However, there were no CODIS matches for the profile.
In January of 2021, detectives from the New Jersey State Police Cold Case Unit and Brigantine Police Department began a cooperative investigation.
According to Prosecutor Shill, Detectives began working with the New Jersey State Police Office of Forensic Sciences (OFS) and a private company specializing in Investigative Genetic Genealogy (IGG).
The evidence was resubmitted to OFS, and a more robust DNA sample for the suspect was obtained.
According to Prosecutor Shill, on July 26, detectives submitted the DNA to a private laboratory for analysis.
The laboratory conducted Microarray Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) testing for IGG analysis in an attempt to identify genetic relatives of the suspect based on the DNA sample obtained at the scene.
Through various investigative means, detectives identified Brian Lee Avis as the suspect.
According to Prosecutor Shill, on September 12, detectives located Avis and escorted him to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, where they executed a search warrant for his DNA.
Detectives obtained the sample using a buccal swab, which collects DNA from cells inside a person’s cheek. The sample was submitted for forensic analysis, which revealed a positive match to the DNA obtained at the scene.
Prosecutor Shill said that on September 13, detectives arrested Avis and charged him 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 a child.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Website and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page.
People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609-652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website.
Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.