Decades old cold case solved after finding fingerprint match

Local News

After almost 20 years, the case involving the kidnapping and rape of a young girl is solved.

The investigating officer said closing this case felt like lifting a 19-year weight off of his shoulders.

Police arrested 50-year-old Timothy Nelson in Cumberland, Maryland on Tuesday.

This all stems back to a 1999 kidnapping and rape of a 10-year-old girl in Somerset County.

On September 19, 1999, police spoke with two other young children who said a white man drove past them multiple times then stopped, grabbed the young girl, threw her into his car, and sped off towards Route 160, driving south.

The man threatened the girl with a gun, telling her he’d shoot if she continued to scream. Officials said he raped her, multiple times, before letting her go.

A passerby saw the girl walking on the side of the road and helped her to the nearest police station, where she told police what happened, and later reunited with her family.

Police found DNA evidence left behind at the scene, but were unable to match it to anyone in their database.

In 2004, the suspect’s DNA matched two other kidnapping cases in Hagerstown, Maryland, but no arrest was made. 

It was not until December 2018 that the FBI Special Evidence Unit matched the fingerprints left at the scene to Timothy Nelson.

Trooper Brock, the officer who worked on this case since the beginning, said hearing the news that the fingerprints were a match was overwhelming.

“She asked me, ‘Are you sitting down?’ And, it’s just what are you doing to me. And she said, ‘We got a hit on the prints’…..I don’t know what to say,’ Brock said.

On Tuesday, January 8, police arrested Nelson in Cumberland, Maryland.

He faces 23 charges against him, including kidnapping, rape, and aggravated indecent assault.

Trooper Brock marked 25 years on the force in early 2019. He spend 19 of those years trying to close this case. He said it’s a weight off his shoulders, bringing justice for the victims.

“It’s a whirlwind of emotion…It’s not about me. It’s about bringing closure to these girls,” Brock said. 

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