Cold Case from 1994 Results in North Carolina Man Pleading to 30 Years

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2209 Newton Street 
Jasper, IN 47546

Indiana State Police:





John Davis, Sergeant  

Public Information Officer                      

Cell: 812-480-3475

DATE: April 24, 2024


Cold Case from 1994 Results in North Carolina Man Pleading to 30 Years


On December 5, 1994, a nineteen-year-old woman was kidnapped in Owensboro, Kentucky, and ordered to drive to southern Spencer County in Indiana under the threat of physical harm.  Once in Spencer County, the victim was sexually assaulted by an unknown assailant.  The victim was then ordered to lie on the rear floorboard of her vehicle while the assailant drove back to Kentucky, parked the car, and fled.  At the time, Indiana State Police and the Owensboro Police Department worked on the investigation jointly, but no suspect was ever identified.

In late 2022, Owensboro Police Department reached out to Indiana State Police Jasper District about submitting DNA evidence collected in 1994 into the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, in hopes of identifying a potential suspect.  In January 2023, it was determined the DNA matched Robert Daniel Shelton (60), of Hickory, North Carolina.  Shelton had an unrelated conviction in 1996 in Kentucky that required him to submit to a DNA sample.

In February 2023, Indiana State Police Detective Josh Greer and Owensboro Police Department Detective Cody Cliff traveled to Hickory, North Carolina to interview Shelton and obtain a confirmatory DNA sample, working in conjunction with the Hickory and Brookford, North Carolina Police Departments.  Indiana State Police Laboratory confirmed in March 2023 that Robert Shelton was the perpetrator of the 1994 assault.  An arrest warrant was issued for Shelton for a charge of rape.  Contact was made with North Carolina authorities and Shelton was arrested at his residence without incident.  Shelton was later extradited to Indiana.

On April 23, 2024, Robert Shelton was sentenced to thirty years at the Indiana Department of Correction after previously pleading guilty to the rape charge. Spencer County Prosecutor Megan Bennet said, “This case exemplifies the proficient investigative abilities of both law enforcement agencies. Without their diligent efforts in collecting DNA evidence, this perpetrator would have never been held accountable for his crime. The courageous victim in this matter finally sees justice after three decades of waiting.”

Original Suspect Sketch

Original Scetch

Mug Photo: Robert Shelton


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