WYOMING, Mich. — Wyoming Police say they've arrested the person who kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 4-year-old girl more than 18 years ago.
According to court records, Richard Samuel Adams, 44, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping. His bond was denied.
The investigation started back in August of 2002, when the Wyoming Department of Public Safety said a 4-year-old child was taken from the Amsterdam Gardens Apartment complex on Eastern Avenue. Authorities said the child later showed up on a stranger's front porch in rural Algoma Township.
According to a press release from the police department, detectives worked the case for several months and checked on it in the last several years.
Recently, investigators received a call from the Michigan State Police Grand Rapids DNA Unit. Wyoming Police said suspect DNA collected during the initial investigation of the now cold case had been preliminarily matched to a subject recently arrested outside of Kent County in a completely unrelated incident.
After that arrest, the suspect was subjected to an arrest record DNA swab and that sample was entered into MSP’s DNA database, CODIS, leading to the match.
Detectives reopened the case and uncovered further information linking the suspect to the scene of the abduction in 2002. The facts were presented to Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker who authorized arrest warrants for a kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct charges -- crimes that potentially carry life sentences.
With help from MSP and Grand Rapids Police, investigators located the Adams in Grand Rapids Thursday, Nov. 19. He was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Kent County Jail.
Kimberly Koster, now Wyoming's Police Chief, was a detective working the case in 2002. She sad this case has really stuck with many of her fellow detectives.
"Whenever we deal with children who are victims of crimes, it’s difficult," said Koster, "But in this case, it’s extremely difficult. What she had gone through, imagining what she experienced, and what terror she went through, and the brutality of that type of crime."
Koster said the arrest brought back memories for her, she can remember standing in certain spots, or thinking certain thoughts during the investigation.
"I had one detective tell me. 'I think I can retire now,'" said Koster, "It's these kind of cases that stick with you your entire career. You want to solve it before you call it quits. This is what police work is about. There’s been a lot of talk about what our role is in society lately. It couldn’t be any more clear this is one of our major roles: to solve crimes like this and bring justice to the victim."
Koster said she and her detectives have spoken with the victim and her family, and hopes this can help them move forward. She acknowledged the suspect is innocent until proven guilty, but said she felt a great sense of satisfaction, and this was a big break in the case.
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