FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Last fall detectives in the Broward Sheriff’s Office Special Victim’s Unit received a phone call from a woman looking for some peace of mind.
The woman said that in 1985 she was kidnapped and raped repeatedly by two men. Her attackers were never caught and the woman wondered if advances in technology might lead investigators to an arrest.
The woman had another reason for the call. Her daughter had recently turned 16 — the same age the victim was when the attack happened — and it had raised many emotions in her.
Detective Michele McCardle went to work. She pieced together the evidence in the case and even found the victim’s rape kit and sent it to BSO’s Crime Lab for testing. McCardle said technicians received a match to a man named Dobie Hunter, a registered sexual offender.
“We were fortunate enough that there was still DNA in that rape kit and we were able to put those pieces together and make an arrest,” McCardle told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “With scientific certainty, there’s no other person that could have committed this offense.”
On Friday, BSO arrested Hunter. And the victim finally received the news she had long awaited.
“She was very happy,” McCardle said. “A little shocked, obviously, because it’s been so long but I think she was really confident that we were going to solve this case for her.”
BSO says Hunter lived nearly 30 years with the dark secret — that he and another man kidnapped the victim as she walked with a friend in the Rock Island area of Fort Lauderdale and raped her repeatedly for hours. The arrest report says Hunter and the other man threatened to kill the victim’s family if she told them about the crime.
Florida prison records show Hunter is a registered sexual offender, who’s been in prison for sexual battery three times since 1987. He had been living as a transient sexual offender on the streets of Broward County prior to his arrest. Detectives now want to know if Hunter is connected to any other unsolved cases.
Dennis McNeal lives in the Rock Island area and remembers the attack. He said the teenage girl was found in the alley near his home. He’s glad Hunter is locked up.
“You can’t hide from DNA,” McNeal said. “That’s one thing you can’t do. You can’t hide from DNA. It will catch up with you eventually.”
BSO says there is a second suspect in this case and if you know anything about the attack from 1985, you are urged to call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.