Florida man arrested in connection with 1987 Virginia cold case

A Florida man in his 50s was arrested last week in connection with a 1987 rape in Woodbridge, Virginia, dating back to the time when the suspect was a teen, police said.

The man, now 52 and living in Palatka, Florida, was arrested on June 14 by authorities in Putnam County, Florida, and charged with rape and abduction with intent to defile, Prince William County police said in a news release Tuesday.

He is currently awaiting extradition to Virginia, and his court date is pending.

Authorities have not released his name. He was a juvenile at the time of the offense.

On Dec. 19, 1987, Prince William County police responded to a former service station on Jefferson Davis Highway — now renamed Richmond Highway — to investigate a rape. Police said a 50-year-old woman was working as a store clerk when a man followed her into the restroom, where she was bound and sexually assaulted at knifepoint. Police say the suspect fled the scene.

Eventually, the case was transferred to the cold case unit.

In 2021, Prince William County police reviewed the case and developed new leads through advancements in DNA and genealogical testing and research.

Police said DNA was retested in a private lab and a profile was developed that led investigators to a family in Florida.

Investigators say they were able to obtain new DNA from possible matches and to identify the suspect. Authorities say they were also able to confirm the suspect lived near the former service station in Virginia at the time of the incident.

Prince William County Police said cold cases are reviewed periodically to see if advancements in investigative forensics can help to clear the case.

David Andrews

No stranger to local news, David Andrews has contributed to DCist, Greater Greater Washington and was fellow at Washingtonian Magazine. He worked as a photo/videographer for University of Maryland's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

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