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Man charged in two cold-case Brooklyn murders of teenagers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A 38-year-old man has been charged with the high-profile murder and dismemberment of a 19-year-old Brooklyn resident in 2005 and the killing of a teenage girl a year earlier, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Kwauhuru Govan was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Rashawn Brazell, whose body was found in bags placed on subway tracks and at a recycling plant days after he disappeared while on his way to a Valentine's Day lunch with his mother.

"The family and friends of Rashawn Brazell have been searching for answers after this beloved young man was killed and discarded in such a horrific fashion," acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. "Today, I am pleased to say that we have solved this cold case, hopefully allowing a small measure of closure for Mr. Brazell's loved ones."

At the time of his arrest, Govan was in custody on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering 17-year-old Sharabia Thomas, the statement said.

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Thomas was last seen alive on the morning of Feb. 11, 2004, after leaving her home for school. Her body was found later that day placed in two garbage bags.

Both Thomas and Brazell were neighbors of the suspect in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick at the time of their disappearances.

Govan was linked to Thomas through previously untested DNA evidence taken from under the girl's fingernails after an investigation by the New York Police Department's Cold Case Squad and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Forensic Science Unit, the district attorney's office said.

An attorney for Govan could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Peter Cooney)