Sexual Assault Unit Detective Makes Arrest in a Child Rape Investigation that Occurred Nearly 20-Years Ago
Sexual Assault Unit (SAU) Detectives continually work cases, new and old, to hold suspects accountable for the victims of sexual assault. Last week, SAU Detective Mike Wall following up on an incident from August of 2002, arrested the male suspected of raping a then 13-year-old female at a park in Elk.
In June of 2021, Detective Wall was assigned a previously unsolved sexual assault that occurred on August 21, 2002. At that time, the 13-year-old victim stated she met a male near Elk Park. The male was sitting in a truck listening to loud music, which caught the attention of the young victim and her friends. The male convinced the victim in the vehicle, isolated her, and then sexually assaulted her. At the time the incident was reported, a rape kit to collect potential evidence was completed, and an investigation was conducted. Unfortunately, the suspect remained unidentified until recently.
In 2020, the rape kit was analyzed by the Washington State Crime Lab, and they found male DNA from an unknown individual. Months later, the DNA was matched in CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) to the DNA profile of 53-year-old Richard J. Johnson, but his whereabouts were unknown.
Detective Wall continued attempts to locate Johnson without success. Believing Johnson was now transient, making him very difficult to locate, Detective Wall established probable cause to charge Johnson with Rape of a Child 1st Degree and Unlawful Imprisonment with Sexual Motivation and was granted an arrest warrant.
On April 20, 2022, Johnson was arrested on his warrant during a traffic stop. Deputy Wall contacted Johnson the next day, advised him of his rights, and conducted an interview. During the interview, Johnson confessed.
Johnson remains in the Spokane County Jail for these charges, with his bond set at $50,000.