EVERETT -- In 1998, a rapist targeted a teacher in the classroom. Investigators could never track down a suspect until now. Thanks to advances in DNA technology and the perseverance of a police detective, an Everett man is now behind bars. Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Jim Scharf remembers the case well.
"I recalled it was a pretty traumatic incident," says Scharf.
A teacher was preparing for summer school in a classroom portable at Discovery Elementary School in south Everett when a young male suspect raped her and threatened her with a gun.
"I think the person probably had seen her there for a day or two and decided to do this," says Scharf. "Actually climbed in the window and waited for her to return from lunch that day."
Detectives released a sketch of the suspect, and collected DNA evidence. But at the time they were unable to identify him.
Today, DNA testing has improved. So Scharf asked the state crime lab to try again, and he got a hit.
The suspect is a 30 year old Everett man who has a conviction in 2000 for a string of residential burglaries, and a federal conviction for pharmacy burglaries down the west coast. He was living just a half mile from the school when the attack happened.
"It's really satisfying to see the reaction that the victim had when we told her we finally figured out who did it," says Scharf. "That he was in jail now."
The detective has sent evidence in other cold cases to the state crime lab hoping for a similar result. The Mukilteo school district says the victim is no longer a teacher.
The suspect was booked on first degree rape and first degree burglary and will make a court appearance on Thursday.