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26 Yr. Old Rape Case Solved

Centre County’s district attorneys praised State College detectives for their work that led to Tuesday’s arrest in a cold, 26-year-old, brutal rape case.

Deputy District Attorney Sean McGraw lauded detectives Stephen Bosak and Nicole Eckley for their extensive work leading to the arrest of Scott R. Williams of Reedsville, Mifflin County. The affidavit of probable cause details the steps the detectives took, from using new DNA technology, to undercover work at a high school banquet, to collecting Williams’ trash.

It was May of 1995, during early morning hours, when a Penn State student was walking home on South Pugh Street in State College. That’s when police said she was attacked from behind, dragged to a nearby flower bed and raped.

Court documents said evidence was collected, including DNA found on the victim from the man who attacked her.

At the time, the DNA was tested, but it didn’t result in a match of a potential suspect. The affidavit says a DNA profile was created with the FBI labs.

It was in 2000, that District Attorney Bernie Cantorna says then District Attorney Ray Gricar and one of the original detectives, Thomas Jordan did something that Cantorna says was a first for the eastern seaboard and saved the case for future prosecution. He says in 1995, the statute of limitations for rape and assault was five years. That means someone could not be charged for certain types of crime after a legally established amount of time.

“Detective Jordan took the literally unprecedented step in this region of filing a criminal complaint against a John Doe, identified by the DNA profile. Once the complaint was filed, that stopped the statute of limitations,” McGraw said.

The case went cold but remained opened. The affidavit said Detective Bosak asked for new DNA testing in 2019. The FBI lab sent a new profile using the 1995 evidence and, in turn, Bosak sent it to two private labs. The affidavit said one of those labs created a profile of the attacker using genealogical DNA, creating an ancestry match. It says it identified Wanda Williams as being a possible relative of the man they were looking for.

The affidavit said in January of this year, the detectives went to Wanda Williams’ place of employment and met with her. The affidavit said they explained they were working on a cold case and that she wasn’t in trouble. It said she volunteered to give a DNA sample. Investigators said she reported to them she has two sons. One lived in Alaska, the other, Scott, in Reedsville. Documents said the lab sent a report back to the detectives, saying her DNA was 99% sure she was the mother of the attacker.

Detectives said they learned Scott has a son who plays high school football and was going to attend a sports banquet in February. The detectives said they went to the banquet, undercover, and attempted to get utensils Williams used. They said he didn’t use any, but they recovered utensils used by his son.

The affidavit said the DNA was tested and it was the DNA from the son of the attacker.

In June, the detectives said they got an order and took three bags of trash from Scott Williams’ home. They said they spread it out in the Sally Port of the State College police station. They got bottles and cups of tobacco spit and saliva. The detectives said they found social media pictures of Williams with what appeared to be tobacco in his mouth and holding a cup to spit in.

The affidavit said the FBI lab tested the saliva and reported it matched the 1995 DNA as one in 2-quadrillion.

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