Months following alleged rape, police find suspect they say attacked woman in Merriam parking lot

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. -- Investigators say they've found the man who raped a young woman at an apartment complex in Merriam last fall.

The victim told police back on September 17, 2015 at about 9:30 p.m., she was attacked by a stranger in the parking lot as she was walking alone toward her apartment. Eight months later, prosecutors say they know exactly who that man is.

Officers arrested 37-year-old Daniel Haller Wednesday. He made his first court appearance in Olathe on Thursday. He's facing one count of rape and his bond is set at $250,000.

FOX 4 went by his Overland Park home Wednesday. His wife Sarah met us outside and said she had no comment. Neighbor Bill Hoobing was shocked to learn about the charges. He said he knows Haller as a nice man who helps him with handiwork, enjoys grilling out, and had plans soon to attend Christian school.

Hoobing said Haller was baptized at church last weekend. "I missed his baptismal but I thought, 'Oh he's doing great!'"

Hoobing had no clue Haller was on the Kansas Violent Offender Registry for aggravated robbery in 2007 and for selling drugs in 2008.

He cried through his first appearance, while holding tissues and shielding his face from cameras with a bandaged hand. Hoobing told FOX 4 Haller was recently doing some work outside, fell from a tree, and was shocked.

"They put the paddles on him and got him going and now he's burned, his arms are burned. But he keeps on working. He's just a hard-working guy and that's why I couldn't figure out he'd done something goofy. Maybe he's trying to turn his life around," he said.

Johnson County Prosecutor Steve Howe said hopes the arrest will bring some relief to the young victim.

"It's not the end of the story but it'll at least give some sense of security to that victim that the individual has been apprehended so that's what that CODIS system is so invaluable. It solves a lot of crimes that otherwise would not have been solved," Howe said.

Howe is referring to a DNA database. Because Haller was a felon, he'd submitted DNA samples when arrested for his past charges. When DNA from the September rape was run through the system, results linked Haller to the crime.

According to to the FBI, CODIS has aided in 2,630 investigations in Kansas and 11,231 investigations in Missouri.

Haller is due back in court Thursday, May 12.

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