Three decades after rape of KC woman, DNA-match points to man already in prison

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Nearly three decades after a 36-year-old Kansas City woman was sexually assaulted, one of the suspects was charged with multiple felonies in connection with that attack.

On Thursday, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced rape, sodomy and robbery charges against Cleophus Parker, 61, for the 1986 attack that began at 6301 Equitable Road in Kansas City, Mo.

According to court records, the victim, now approximately 55-years-old, was walking to her car on July 9th, when two men approached her and told her to be quiet or they would shoot her. They restrained her in the backseat and then drove a short distance to a grassy area later determined to be in the 6000 block of Parretta. They made her remove her jewelry, including her wedding ring and tied her wrists with her pantyhose. Then they both raped her. They then drove her to another location where she was able to get free and run away.

Evidence was collected, including the victim's right shoe at the crime scene, but all potential leads were exhausted and the case inactivated.

Then, on April 27, 2012, the Kansas City Police Crime Lab found that a match had been made that identified Cleophus Parker as the source of the male DNA collected from the victim.

In March 2015, after contacting the victim who told police she wanted to pursue the case, police interviewed Parker.  He was in prison in Jefferson City for a separate conviction out of Clay County, Mo.  Police showed him three pictures of the victim as she looked in 1986. He said he did not recognize her, denied having a sexual relationship with her and denied ever raping anyone.

He also denied authorities consent to collect a saliva sample.

After receiving approval for a search warrant, authorities took the sample from Parker and five months later, more test showed that Cleophus Parker and another man were major contributors of the DNA taken from the victim in the rape examination.

Baker said this case is the final case funded under federal Cold Case grants. She said that since 2009, the grants have helped Jackson County prosecutors use DNA samples taken as evidence to connect them to the attacker, resulting in 53 filed cold cases and significant prison sentences for defendants who would have otherwise likely gone without consequence.

Although the grants are ending, the prosecutor’s office says it has developed expertise that will allow it to continue to look for more cold-case offenders and bring them to justice.

Parker remains in custody in a Missouri prison but he appeared in Jackson County to be arraigned Thursday on these new charges.