Police believe they’ve identified the man who allegedly raped and attempted to murder a woman in North Carolina nearly 40 years ago.
James Frederick Wilson, 59, was recently arrested on suspicion of rape, assault, and kidnapping in connection with the cold case, KRCG-TV reported.
In 1984, the victim was walking to work in Columbia when Wilson, who was a student at the time, grabbed her at knifepoint and ordered her into his vehicle, according to court documents obtained by the station.
Wilson allegedly drove the woman to a dead-end street, where he forced the woman to get into the back seat and take off her clothes before raping her outside of the vehicle, the documents state.
The victim waited until she heard her attacker drive away and then she managed to seek help. She suffered a damaged trachea and vocal chords in the attack but recovered from her injuries. No suspect was ever arrested and leads eventually dried up.
In March 2020, investigators reopened the cold case and took a fresh look at the evidence. After sending a sexual assault kit collected at the time of the assault for analysis, detectives were able to identify Wilson as one of three possible suspects.
Detectives noted Wilson was living in the area when the rape occurred and his vehicle and appearance all matched the victim’s descriptions, police said.
A razor with gray beard hairs surreptitiously collected from the trash outside Wilson’s home was tested and his DNA was a match with forensic evidence collected at the time of the crime, police said.
Charges against Wilson are pending.