The attack happened at a home in the 800 block of Windstream Way in Edgewood so long ago that people there don't even remember it.
But Edward Hopkins of the Harford County Sheriff's Office says in the years that followed, investigators never gave up on finding a suspect.
"The victim who was 33 at the time reported that she was asleep in her living room on the couch. She was awakened to find a black male on top of her. Now the black male had threatened her, placed his hand across her mouth, then physically and sexually assaulted her and fled the residence."
Even though police had no leads, they did obtain forensic evidence---a rape kit, which was preserved along with the suspect's DNA.
"At that time, DNA testing was available to us, but it typically was only available if we had a known suspect to compare it to. There wasn't a database that we could simply do random searches and try to locate potential suspects."
Six years later, the FBI had launched such a database and investigators submitted the DNA evidence to the Maryland State Police Laboratory.
While the process took more time, eventually a match pointed them to 28-year old Deandre Wilson---who was incarcerated in the Raybrook Federal Correctional Institute in upstate New York on cocaine charges.
Investigators transported him back to Maryland, and Wilson has now been found guilty of two counts of rape and first degree burglary nine years after he committed the crimes as a teenager.
"Certainly as technology improves, there's a greater likelihood that these cold cases, once unsolvable because of the inability to compare evidence, may likely now be able to be compared and result in more arrests,” said Hopkins, “So I think to the criminal element, it serves as a message to them that they're eventually going to get caught one way or the other."
The victim in this case agreed to testify against Wilson when she learned of the DNA match.
He is scheduled to be sentenced for his crimes in January.
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