Crime

She was raped 36 years ago. Blood on her clothes finally led police to a suspect.

How DNA evidence works

With the exception of identical twins, each person has a unique DNA profile. This makes DNA matching a powerful tool for finding and convicting the perpetrator of a crime.
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With the exception of identical twins, each person has a unique DNA profile. This makes DNA matching a powerful tool for finding and convicting the perpetrator of a crime.

More than three decades ago, a man broke into a Coral Springs woman’s home and raped her. Police weren’t able to figure out who did it for 36 years.

Coral Springs detectives and the Broward Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab have collected enough evidence to charge Timothy Norris, 60, in connection to the three-decade-old violent sexual battery investigation, police said.

In the early morning hours of Aug. 22, 1983, the victim awoke to an armed stranger in her bedroom, police said.

The suspect, then 24-year-old Norris, got inside through a back door and proceeded to rape her, police said. The suspect was described as a young white male, slender build, brown hair, clean cut, with strong cologne and a heavy southern accent.

The evidence collected at the scene was sent to the Broward Sheriff’s Office Crime lab for analysis, but the technology at the time was unable to identify a suspect. Other investigative techniques also failed in trying to find a suspect.

Three decades of technological advancement later, and police were able to get a break in the case.

On March 14, Coral Springs police detectives re-evaluated the evidence and sent several items to the sheriff’s office crime lab for analysis. On June 27, detectives learned that a sample of the victim’s clothing contained a DNA profile belonging to Norris.

Police didn’t have to look far to try to find Norris. He was already in jail.

He is serving a federal sentence in West Virginia for armed bank robbery and has prior arrests for aggravated assault, assault on a female and kidnapping.

Norris will be brought back to Florida to face the new charges.

Miami Herald Real Time Reporter Devoun Cetoute covers breaking news, Florida theme parks and general assignment. He attends the University of Florida and grew up in Miami. Theme parks are on his mind in and out of the office.
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