LCPD: DNA evidence links man to 1992 rape cases - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

LCPD: DNA evidence links man to 1992 rape cases

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Darwin Hutchinson (Source: Lake Charles Police Department) Darwin Hutchinson (Source: Lake Charles Police Department)

DNA evidence has linked the rapes of two women, back in 1992, to a convicted rapist now serving time at Angola State Prison.
Darwin Hutchinson is now under indictment for two counts of aggravated rape and there could be more victims.

One of the 1992 victims is speaking out, providing encouragement to other rape victims and urging them to remain hopeful that one day their assailant will be brought to justice.

DNA identification has come a long way over the last two decades, and it's now allowed Lake Charles Police to identify the man they believe kidnapped and raped two women in June 1992.

Chief Don Dixon said a family member of one of the victims recently inquired as to the status of the cold case. DNA evidence from 1992 was compared to that now available through the CODIS system at the Calcasieu Crime Lab. They got a match.

"Captain Denise Hughes took it upon herself and did a very thorough search and found the sexual assault kits and then they were submitted to our local laboratory," said Dixon at a news conference on Monday.

Hutchinson was already in prison after being convicted of a 1999 rape. Since his DNA is now in the system, police were able to link him to the older case and he's now been indicted on two counts of aggravated rape. One of the two victims, Wendy, encourages women to report rape.

"I reported it 21 years ago and never imagined in my wildest dreams that they would call me in April and say, 'we got him.' It's hard. It's a hard thing to go through, but I guess my message today is never lose hope," she said.

Dixon reiterates the importance of preserving evidence so that such crimes can be successfully prosecuted. He said rape victims should go immediately to a hospital.

"Don't take a bath, don't take a shower, don't put your clothes in the washing machine. If it's a sheet on the bed, whatever it may be. Please give us the opportunity to bring closure by preserving that evidence," said Dixon.

Police are in the process of reviewing other cold cases and evidence to see if Hutchinson may be linked to other rape cases as well. Anyone who thinks they may have information linking Hutchinson to other crimes should call Lake Charles Police at 491-1311.

Dixon said Hutchinson, 46, was arraigned on two counts of aggravated rape April 22. The news release issued by police follows this story.

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In June 1992, officers were called to an area hospital in reference to a rape.  Officers learned that earlier in the evening, two young women were patronizing a local establishment when they decided to leave and go to a friend's apartment.  They got into their car and began driving to the complex, when a black male subject popped up from the back seat.  He was armed with a knife and he forced the driver to drive east of Lake Charles to a remote secluded area.  He forced both women out of the car and raped them.  He then forced both women back into the car, instructing the driver to take him back to Lake Charles. He took their driver's license, advising them if they told anyone, he would pay them a visit and bring some of his friends.  He made the driver drop him off near the area of Ryan and Chavanne Street.  They drove to the hospital and the LCPD was notified.  Sexual assault kits, along with other items, were collected as evidence.  Investigators exhausted all leads, however they did not identify the rapist and the case remained unsolved.

In the latter months of 2011, one victim's mother contacted Captain Hughes and asked if the status of the case had ever changed.  Captain Hughes contacted Sergeant Streva to search the Evidence Division for any and all evidence pertaining to this case.  He located the sexual assault kits.  Capt Hughes spoke with Chief Dixon, gave him all the details and requested that the kits be submitted to the Southwest Crime Laboratory for examination and comparison of any viable DNA evidence.  In December 2011, the kits were submitted.  In March 2012, the Lake Charles Police Department received a DNA-CODIS lab report identifying the DNA profile as that of Darwin Hutchinson.  Hutchinson is currently serving a life sentence in Angola for an aggravated rape that occurred in 1999.  The Lake Charles Police Department also investigated this case.

In April 2012, investigators traveled to Angola and interviewed Hutchinson and took a buccal swab which was submitted for analysis. In September 2012, the lab report identified the DNA profile as his.

In January 2013, an arrest warrant with a bond set at $100,000.00 was issued and signed by Judge Wyatt for two counts of aggravated rape and served on Hutchinson at Angola.

On April 4, 2013, a grand jury indicted Hutchinson for two counts of aggravated rape.

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