Crime

More than 30 years after a woman was raped in her bedroom, police arrest a suspect

Frank Montana
Frank Montana Coral Springs police

It was Oct. 22, 1987, when a 27-year-old woman woke up to find a man standing over her in her Coral Springs bedroom.

She told police the man was wearing a ski mask and had either socks, mitts or gloves covering his hands.

Fearing for her life, she complied with his demands, police said.

The woman reported the attack and rape immediately, but no one was ever linked to the crime.

That was until this week.

On Thursday, Coral Springs police said they had cracked the nearly 31-year-old sexual battery case after new DNA technology led them to 59-year-old Frank Montana.

“This is what every detective, every officer, every law enforcement agency wants — to give the victim closure,” said Coral Springs Detective Ernesto Bruna.

At the time of the attack, Bruna said Thursday, forensic evidence was collected and sent to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab for analysis. But no matches were made.

This March, Coral Springs detectives in the Special Victims Unit were assigned the cold case and began looking at the evidence with fresh eyes. They asked that the evidence be tested again because of advances in DNA technology, police said.

This time, there was a positive DNA profile — Montana, also known as Frank Cruz. Police then secured a warrant for Montana.

Montana, arrested Tuesday in East Baton Rouge, La., by a U.S. Marshals Service task force, has a history of sexual violence. On Dec. 15, 1987, he committed burglary, first-degree criminal sexual conduct and third-degree sexual conduct in Minnesota’s Hennepin County. He was imprisoned in Minnesota from 1988 to 2003.

Earlier in 1987, Montana had gotten probation in Florida on three counts of grand theft between $300 and $20,000. After completing his Minnesota prison time, he eventually returned to the supervision of Florida’s Department of Corrections, getting probation in June 2004 for impersonating a police officer during the commission of a felony resulting in death or injury.

Tennessee got its turn at hosting Montana in 2012, when he went down for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon in Loudon County.

Montana has lived in the New York metropolitan area (Queens, Nassau County); Miami; Vero Beach, and Fort Pierce. He will be extradited to Broward County, Bruna said.

Bruna said the victim, who no longer lives in Coral Springs but still resides in Florida, was informed of the arrest.

“She was obviously very happy and relieved that we made an arrest,” he said.

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