DNA taken from domestic violence arrest links man to 2 cold-case New Orleans rapes
January 16, 2020
For Immediate Release

Contact: Ken Daley, Public Information

District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office on Thursday (Jan. 16) secured an indictment charging a man whose recent domestic violence arrest produced a DNA link to two New Orleans cold-case rapes.

Navarri Henderson was charged with two counts each of first-degree rape and aggravated kidnapping, in connection with previously unsolved sexual assaults that occurred in December 2016 and August 2018. An Orleans Parish grand jury also charged Henderson, 22, with single counts of second-degree robbery, domestic abuse battery of a pregnant victim, and obstruction of justice.

Henderson faces a mandatory lifetime prison sentence if convicted on any of the rape or kidnapping counts filed against him.

Henderson was arrested on domestic violence allegations last Oct. 8, and a DNA sample was collected in accordance with state law. After posting a $5,500 bond two days later, Henderson was freed from jail. He failed to appear for his scheduled arraignment Dec. 9 and instead fled to a sister’s house in Mississippi.

The Louisiana State Police crime lab informed New Orleans police and prosecutors on Dec. 23 that DNA sample swabs collected from the sexual assault kits of the 2016 and 2018 rape victims appeared to match Henderson’s sample stored in the federal CODIS database (Combined DNA Index System). Agents from the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force arrested Henderson in Mississippi on Jan. 8 and he was extradited to New Orleans.

Henderson is accused of beating and raping a 34-year-old woman who was attacked while jogging along the Mississippi River levee in Algiers Point on Dec. 28, 2016.

The woman told police she was jogging in the 700 block of Patterson Road around 8:45 p.m. when she was grabbed from behind and sexually assaulted by a man she had seen sitting on a nearby bench. The victim survived the violent attack but required multiple surgeries to repair a dislocated hip, fractured wrist and broken nose.

Henderson is accused of raping another stranger — this time a 26-year-old woman who was six months pregnant — behind an Algiers grocery store on Aug. 1, 2018.

This woman told detectives she was walking toward MacArthur Boulevard a few minutes after midnight when she was grabbed from behind and threatened. She said her assailant forced her behind the grocery store into a dark area between a dumpster and a
parked 18-wheel truck. The victim said she was strangled unconscious and awoke to being vaginally raped, then was robbed of the cash and valuables in her purse.

Henderson’s domestic violence arrest came Oct. 8, 2019. NOPD Officer Antonio Charles responded to a 911 call from Henderson’s girlfriend of the past two years. The woman, herself four months pregnant, said she had been knocked unconscious by Henderson in
their shared apartment in the 3400 block of Garden Oaks Drive. The woman sustained a broken jaw that had to be wired shut.

Criminal District Judge Karen Herman left unchanged Henderson’s $450,000 bond set for the two rape allegations and first kidnapping charge. Bond on the four remaining counts is expected to be set Jan. 22 when the defendant is scheduled to be arraigned in the courtroom of Criminal District Judge Laurie A. White.

Sex crimes detectives Claudia Bruce and Kevin Richardson of the NOPD’s SAKI team assisted with the investigation. Assistant District Attorneys Mary Glass and Naomi Jones of the OPDA’s SAKI unit (Sexual Assault Kit Initiative), presented the case to the grand jury.