Virginia woman believes her missing rape kit will solve 33-year-old rape case

Posted at 4:36 PM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-30 16:42:42-04

RICHMOND, Va. – After more than 30 years, a local woman is coming forward to talk about the day she was attacked and raped in broad daylight in downtown Richmond.

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous, was attacked in August of 1984, when she was just 17 years old.

Although the attack happened 33 years ago, it has had a lasting impact.

“I remember it, pretty much like it was yesterday,” she told CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit. “There's just shame around. The whole subject, so I didn't really want my face out there.”

It happened in broad daylight, as she was walking down the street to her boyfriend’s house, near the Jefferson Hotel.

“I was raped,” she said to CBS 6.

The woman said a young man pulled up in car, called her by name, and offered her a ride. She said she didn't recognize him, but accepted the offer.

“Being a 17-year-old I was more worried about oh he's going to think I don't remember him and that kind of thing,” she recalled.

Once she got inside the young man’s vehicle, she was attacked.

“He put his hands around my throat, he put his thumbs in my wind pipe and he pretty much pushed down really hard,” the woman said.

When it was over she says he told her to get out of the car, look at a wall and count to 100. She said she did that and then ran to her boyfriend's house where she says someone called Richmond Police.

“I was shocked that this person had raped me because he just looked like someone I would know, he was my age,” she recalled.

She said officers took a report and then sent her to the hospital where she underwent the process for obtaining a Physical Evidence Recovery Kit, otherwise known as PERK.

“That was a little bit humiliating too because my dad had to drive me home,” she said.

After that day she says she never heard from the police.

Moving forward, the woman said her family wasn’t very supportive and the rape was something she never talked about with her parents.

“No one said a word. No one said a word it was like it didn't happen. My family didn't say anything. My friends didn't say anything,” she said.

The woman said that’s when she spiraled into depression and anxiety.

She said she tried to move on with life and never personally followed up with police, until last month, 33 years after the rape, when a mug shot on a Facebook page caught her eye.

“I remember this person. This face… You don't forget those things,” she said.

So, she called Richmond Police and asked a detective to track down her case and PERK Kit.

“He told me they couldn't find it. He looked everywhere,” she added.

CBS 6 reached out to Richmond Police, and a spokesperson said that investigators are actively looking for the case information and evidence, but that because the rape happened 33 years ago, it is a laborious search process.

That spokesperson said all information related to PERK Kits prior to 2002 was documented on paper and has to be researched manually, which is why it is taking so long.

“If they have the kits, I don't know why they just can't find it?” she asked.

“Does this lead you to believe maybe they don't have the kit?” Hipolit asked.

“I want them to the have the kit but I’m afraid they may not have the kit still,” she said.

Still, the woman remains hopeful and says she won't back down until justice is served.

“I just want justice. I want this man to be put away,” she said.

Justice that she believes will happen if and only if her PERK Kit can be found.

“I know for a fact beyond a shadow of a doubt that… if they had that it would match this person I saw in the mug shot. I know,” she said.