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Man charged in 2000 rape case after ‘cold hit’ in DNA database

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on April 28, 2009 at 9:00 pm with No Comments »
April 28, 2009 9:00 pm

Tacoma police want the public’s help to find a man who recently was charged with sexually assaulting a woman nearly nine years ago.

Tacoma-Pierce County Crime Stoppers is offering up to $1,000 for information leading to Luis R. Garcia’s arrest.

Earlier this month, prosecutors charged the 25-year-old (pictured here) with first-degree rape and second-degree assault in connection with a brutal attack Aug. 24, 2000. A warrant was issued for his arrest.

A “cold hit” on a DNA sample taken from evidence collected in the case allowed prosecutors to file charges in the case, deputy prosecutor Mary Robnett said.

Court documents provide the following information.

The victim was with a friend when their car broke down Aug. 24, 2000. The victim eventually walked to a bus stop, met up with two men and accepted their offer of a ride.

The men drove to an apartment complex and parked. The woman objected but the suspects grabbed her and pulled her from the car and into an apartment.

Both men repeatedly punched her and ripped her clothes off. One of the attackers put on a condom and raped the woman, court documents state.

The victim was forced into a bathroom and told to wash herself but she refused. The attackers locked her in the bathroom for a while, then released her.

The men threatened to return with more friends to do her more harm, then left. The woman, who wasn’t wearing any clothing, fled and knocked on doors for help.

Another resident let her inside and called police. The woman was taken to the hospital, where doctors found she had several facial fractures.

Officers responded to the scene and collected a condom from the bathroom.

Six years later, a scientist at the Washington State Patrol crime lab developed a DNA profile from the condom. The scientist ran the profile against state and national databases of known offenders but found no matches.

The scientist reran the DNA profile through the same databases in May 2008 and found it matched Garcia.

Detectives continued to work the case and charges were filed against Garcia this month. Investigators have been searching for him since a warrant was issued April 14 but have been unable to locate him.

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