KITCHENER -- Guelph police say DNA evidence has helped them solve two sexual assault cases that have remained open for over two decades.

A 74-year-old woman was sexually assaulted in her Guelph home on July 24, 1999, according to a news release sent out Thursday.

On Nov. 14 of that year, Guelph police say the same offender entered another home and confronted a 45-year-old woman while brandishing a knife.

The woman was reportedly able to fight off the offender, who later fled the scene.

The two cases were linked by DNA that had been collected at the time, according to officials.

A task force of 11 officers was formed in 1999 to investigate, but the offender was not identified and the case went cold.

The cold case was revisited in 2010, according to police, and all avenues in the investigation were exhausted.

In 2020, Guelph police revisited the case once again. They say that, due to the advancement in DNA between the present and 2010, they were able to identify the man responsible for the sexual assaults.

Officials say the offender was a man in his 20s at the time of the assaults and has since died. The name of the offender will not be released to the public.

Guelph police say they feel relief that the person responsible for the serious offences has been identified and that the cases and victims can have closure after 22 years.