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Crime News

Florida Man Charged in Cold-Case Rape After DNA Evidence Links Him to 1986 Crime

Police believe Anthony Stokes is linked to several other crimes in St. Petersburg between 1986 and 1987.

By Noah Hurowitz

More than 30 years after a Florida woman was raped at gunpoint by an intruder, a suspect was arrested after DNA linked him to the cold case, authorities said.

Cops arrested Anthony Stokes, 56, and charged him with sexual battery in connection with the 1986 rape of a woman in St. Petersburg. Police say DNA evidence could link him to several other rapes that took place in the area between 1867 and 1987, a spokeswoman for the St. Petersburg Police Department told Oxygen.com.

Stokes, who was 25 at the time, allegedly barged into the woman’s home at about 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 12, 1986, and told her he’d shoot her if she put up a fight, police said. He then allegedly raped her and fled the scene, but not before leaving crucial DNA evidence behind, according to a police report.

The victim, then 39, moved soon after and never returned, police told the Tampa Bay Times.

Now 71, she’s ready to forge ahead with making sure Stokes answers for the alleged crime, police told reporters.

"She knows there is still more to go in sense of the prosecution," Maj. Shannon Halstead of the St. Petersburg Police Department said at a press conference, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Police collected DNA evidence at the scene of the crime, but were stymied in several attempts over the last three decades to match the evidence to a suspect, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Then, in 2015, the department reopened the case, and thanks to technological advances, police were able to find their man, cops told Oxygen.com

Stokes appeared in court on Sunday, where a judge ordered him held on $250,000 bail after prosecutors charged him with sexual battery, Action News reported.

Police did not immediately provide more details on the other crimes they suspect Stokes of committing, citing ongoing investigations.

[Photo: St. Petersburg Police Department]