An investigation into a rape case from 1989 in Edmond, Oklahoma, may finally be solved after a DNA match was found in a decades-old rape kit. The case, which occurred on October 3, 1989, involved a victim who was hitchhiking along I-35 and picked up by a man who then sexually assaulted her in Edmond. Despite a rape kit being completed at the time, it remained untested for years.
In 2017, former Governor Mary Fallin established the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative to address the backlog of untested kits in the state. This initiative was reaffirmed by Governor Stitt in 2021. However, due to a lack of leads, the case was “deactivated” by the police.
The rape kit was finally sent to a lab in Virginia for testing in 2021, leading to the identification of the suspect as 66-year-old Frank Haynes III. Haynes was already incarcerated in California, and his DNA matched a profile on file in the state. The fact that Haynes had left Oklahoma and moved to California prevented the statute of limitations from expiring, allowing the state to proceed with plans to prosecute him.
Legal expert Ed Blau explained that the statute of limitations for rape in Oklahoma is typically 12 years, but it can be extended if the suspect moves out of state for a significant period of time.
According to community advocate Hillary Burkholder, the prevalence of sexual assault in Oklahoma is higher than the national average. She highlighted the importance of support services for survivors and emphasized that there is life after rape and sexual assault.
Earlier this year, it was reported that there were nearly 3,000 untested rape kits across the state of Oklahoma. Burkholder emphasized the need for action and support while survivors wait for the legal system to progress.