• DNA, fingerprint provided huge breaks in 20-year cold case, police say

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    CENTRAL CITY, Pa. - A man charged with kidnapping and raping a 10-year-old girl two decades ago in Somerset County is now behind bars in Pennsylvania.

    Timothy David Nelson Jr., 50, was extradited from Maryland on Thursday morning and is in jail on $750,000 bond for allegedly snatching the girl off the street in September 1999 and assaulting her before dropping her off on a small Fayette County road near the Maryland border.

    RELATED: Man accused of kidnapping, rape in our area nearly 20 years ago arrested

    The cold case went unsolved for 20 years until advances in technology allowed authorities to piece together evidence from other crimes, leading them to Nelson as the suspect, state police said at a Thursday press conference.

    After the girl was assaulted, a paper bag the attacker used to clean up was tossed out of the vehicle, police said. The bag was collected as evidence and used to create a DNA profile; however, that profile did not match any other in the national database at that time.


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    In 2004, there was a hit -- the DNA profile matched those found in two other cases from 1988, including one in which a young girl was kidnapped and raped, police said.

    Then, last month, an FBI special evidence unit pulled a fingerprint from the paper bag recovered from the Somerset County crime with new technology, police said.

    “I just never forgot her," said Trooper Jeffrey Brock, who never lost hope on a case that haunted him nearly his entire career. “I had to try one more thing before if the time came ... (but to) I just wanted to get this done.”

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    Between the DNA matches, the new fingerprint evidence and other investigation, authorities traced the assault to Nelson, police said. He faces 23 charges, including kidnapping, rape and indecent assault.

    Residents are grateful to see an arrest in the case, which shocked and frightened the semi-rural area at the time.

    "The community was really shook up over this," said Karen Fondelier, who has lived most of her life in Central City, Somerset County. "It just doesn't happen in a small town like us. Doesn't happen here."


     

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