Betty Brown: Where is the Sexual Assault Survivor Now?

Although it was back in 1995 when the horrific sexual assault and murder of 14-year-old Nacole Smith sparked intense child safety improvement efforts in Atlanta, Georgia, nothing sadly changed. This much is actually evidenced by the fact such offenses continued to occur senselessly, and the teen’s own assailant managed to strike again near the same area nine years, thirteen days later. So now that this matter has also been carefully explored in Hulu’s ‘Cold Case Files DNA Speaks: A Fatal Path’ — let’s find out more about the second victim, survivor Betty Brown, shall we?

Who is Betty Brown?

It was back on June 20, 2004, when Betty Brown was merely 13-years-old that her whole world turned upside down owing to the heinous actions of a depraved individual, only for her to have positively endured. The truth is this teen had planned to enjoy the fateful day with some friends at a Father’s Day cookout in the local park, which is precisely what she did until it was time for her to return home. Though little did she know she’d encounter a strange man on her walk back and then suddenly be forced into the darkness to satisfy his perverse needs — all her pleas were disregarded.

Image Credit: Facebook/Atlanta Police

“As I’m walking, this gentleman approaches me,” Betty somberly elucidated in the original production. “He comes out of nowhere and starts talking, ‘Why are you out here so late? Where are you going?’ It was a bad vibe. We start coming up on this empty area, all grass and wood, and he just grabbed me. He pulled me into the wooded area. He immediately threw me on the ground. We were hustling; he raped me. He says, ‘Don’t say anything. I’ll kill you.’ So in my mind, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, this is it. I’m not going to make it.’ But then something came over me, and I thought, ‘If we make it out of this, we got to remember what he looks like.'”

Despite the sordid situation, Betty actually had the presence of mind to know she might have to identify her attacker one day and thus paid close attention to his every physical feature. “Eventually,” she stated, “he got up, and I started running… One of my mom’s friends saw me… and drove me to my house. When I got there, I immediately broke down and told my mom what’d happened [just for her to call the police].” So, the teen was soon paired with an official to have a composite sketch of the male made, and that’s how it came to light he was of color, in his late 20s or early 30s, wore round wire-rimmed glasses, and had a gap between his teeth.

“I just remembered everything,” Betty candidly stated in the documentary series episode. “Everything I saw. When you look into a person’s eye, and you see a soulless individual, you see evil.” However, it wasn’t until August 26, 2004, that she learned the true extent of his cruelty — this was the day the DNA from her rape kit matched the evidence secured from Nacole’s cold case. In other words, the two teens had been sexually assaulted by the same man a mere 3.2 miles away, nine years apart, with the sole significant difference being the aggressor didn’t kill young Betty.

Where is Betty Brown Now?

Unfortunately, despite the clear DNA evidence as well as the elaborate composite sketch, it wasn’t until late 2021 that Betty and Nacole’s attacker was established as Atlanta local Kelvin Arnold. It was technological advancements, along with a sample of his DNA preserved from his apparent 2002 assault on a then-girlfriend, that resulted in his positive identification, but alas, it was too late. The 49-year-old had died in August 2021 from liver and kidney failure, which had allegedly stemmed from his alcoholism, meaning he couldn’t be brought to justice for either of his brutal offenses.

“I am so conflicted because, on the one hand, I want to rise above and not let this control me, but on the other hand, I want his family to suffer because he’s not here to suffer,” Betty expressed in a press conference once everything was said and done. “I want them to feel the pain that my family has felt for years, knowing that that man that you loved, that you appreciated, that you respected, did something so horrible to me and Nacole and I want you to live in that. I want you to wear that like I did, like I do every day of my life.” But now, it appears as if this Atlanta Technical College graduate and mother is trying her best to move on.

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