Arrest in Decades-Old Rape of 14-Year-Old After Kit Tested in Florida

Twenty years after a 14-year-old girl was dragged into a van and raped by three strangers, one of the men believed to be responsible has been arrested with the help of DNA, deputies said.

Florida authorities said Robert Sheridan Haar, 42, was arrested on suspicion of sexual battery in the 1997 crime, NBC affiliate WESH reported.

An untested rape kit that was revisited 20 years later led to Haar, WESH reported.

The 14-year-old victim was with her friends when they were stranded with a broken-down car.

After an argument, the victim’s friends left her and she began walking alone. That’s when three men in a van grabbed her, and told her she would be killed if she screamed or resisted, according to an affidavit.

The girl was repeatedly raped and then dropped of the next morning, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office deputies said.

Her grandmother took her into the police station and a DNA sample was taken.

Volusia County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Pat Thoman said the rape kit was never tested due to what he calls an oversight.

There was a recent initiative to re-visit untested rape kits, Thoman said. That when the victim's DNA was tested and led authorities to Haar in Wisconsin.

Thoman said Haar's DNA was not in the system until last year, so even if the kit had been tested earlier it would not have led to Haar before this, WESH reported. 

The victim still lives in Volusia County where the crime took place, and wants to press charges. She was very emotional after hearing the news, and recalled the incident well, Thoman said.

Read more at WESH.

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