CENTRAL CITY, Pa. — Channel 11 has confirmed a massive break in a cold case that dates back nearly 20 years, involving a kidnapping and sexual assault in western Pennsylvania.
Back in 1999, a young 10-year-old girl was snatched off the street in Somerset County and raped before being dropped off hours later on a small road in Fayette County, near the Maryland border.
The kidnapping and sexual assault led to fear across the region for weeks.
No arrests were ever made, but late last year, police were able to identify the suspect through a fingerprint.
On Wednesday, Channel 11 confirmed with law enforcement sources that charges were recently filed in Somerset County in that case against Timothy David Nelson Jr. The 23 charges against him include kidnapping, rape and indecent assault.
Nelson was arrested in Allegany County, Maryland.
Police say Nelson is also tied to two attempted kidnappings in Hagerstown, Maryland from 1998 through DNA evidence.
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“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.”
The victim went to the same school as Fondelier’s daughter.
“And it was all over. Everybody guarded their kids. Afraid to leave them outside, take them to the bus stop," she recalled from 20 years ago.
“There was a lot of panic and confusion and concern in the community," said Dale Russian, the chief of the Central City Volunteer Fire Department. “Setting up people in different areas so we could cover all the ins and outs in the community.”
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