Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Rape Kit Test Leads to Arrest 17 Years Later

Posted By on Tue, May 17, 2016 at 1:05 PM

Ronnie Simpson
  • Ronnie Simpson
A man was extradited from Texas and booked into jail in Shelby County on Monday for a rape that occurred in Memphis in 1999.

Ronnie Simpson has been indicted for the March 28, 1999 rape of a 28-year-old woman in Orange Mound. After the rape, the woman reported to police that she'd be walking near Grand and Zanone when a man she knew as "Shun" struck her in the head with a gun and raped her. 

A rape kit with an unidentified male's DNA was stored, but the DNA information wasn't uploaded into CODIS (the combined DNA index system) until March 4, 2014. Although Simpson wasn't immediately identified in CODIS, the unidentified male's DNA profile was indicted to prevent the statute of limitations from expiring. A month later, Simpson was identified as a match, and following further police investigation, he was indicted on March 1, 2016.

In between all that time, Simpson served time in prison for 2001 aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary charges. He was sentenced to 15 years, but he was released in February 2013.

When police began searching for Simpson on the rape charge, they learned he was no longer living in Memphis. Police tracked him to the Fort Worth, Texas suburb of North Richland Hills. Memphis Police reached out to authorities there, and they surveilled the home where he was believed to be living. But the investigation revealed Simpson was no longer at that residence. He was eventually located in a homeless shelter in Austin, about 200 miles away from North Richland Hills. He was arrested at the shelter on an outstanding warrant for aggravated rape and extradited to Memphis.

The case will be handled by Assistant District Attorney Abby Wallace of the Shelby County District Attorney's Special Victims Unit.

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