DNA used to identify a sexual assault suspect in multiple Phoenix cold cases

Zackarias Mudasir
Zackarias Mudasir(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 4:52 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Phoenix Police cold case sex crimes unit arrested a man detectives say is linked to two sexual assaults in the Valley that have gone unsolved for years. Officers arrested 32-year-old Zackarais Mudasir last week in Mohave County. Investigators say Mudasir sexually assaulted a 19-year-old in 2016 and a 13-year-old in 2017. “One of them was a date rape situation and the other was a stranger danger situation,” said Detective Jeff Starks with the Adult Sex Crimes Cold Case Unit. Mudasir was booked charges of sexual assault, sexual conduct with a minor and kidnapping.

Starks said Mudasir was arrested on the sexual assault charges after his DNA was collected following a conviction in a felony arrest. “I reviewed those cases and based on the evidence that there was and with the new evidence with the DNA, we were able to seek a grand jury warrant for his arrest,” said Starks.

Mudasir was also arrested in August 2019 for allegedly deploying an emergency slide on a United Airlines plane at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Phoenix police told Arizona’s Family that a passenger saw Mudasir enter a secure area of Terminal 2 from a closed jetway on the airfield at Gate 3. around 2:15 a.m. that day. While he was in custody, they learned that he activated an emergency escape on a United Airlines plane. Mudasir was booked into jail on recommended charges of criminal trespass, criminal damage, and failure to provide a true name.

Starks said it means everything to their unit to solve crimes for victims that have had no closure for years. “It means a lot to us and also to the department just to be able to bring justice to victims that have been waiting for it for a long time and to be able to use new technology and the DNA analysis that’s available now to us now to close cases that have been previously left unanswered,” said Starks. “That’s why we do the job so we can bring justice for particularly vulnerable victims like minors or other young women that have been victimized in such a personal way.”

The Adult Sex Crimes Cold Case Unit was formed in December 2021 and has made 11 arrests in cold cases so far. “As you can only imagine, the workload we’re working as far as current cases, but we also identify the need to investigate previous cases, especially with the new technology rolling in,” said Sgt. Phil Krynsky. “The detectives that are assigned to this detail, they have experience from various areas so they’re working together and working these types of cases and again. Their work has just started. They’re very motivated and they’re definitely working at closing a lot more in the future.”

Right now, the unit is looking at cases as far back as 1995, but they hope to look at even older cases in the future.