WARSAW — A man from California was recently arrested after DNA analysis connected him to a rape incident that occurred in Warsaw in 1999.
Rodriguez Samandes Todd, 52, San Diego, Calif., is charged with rape and kidnapping, both class A felonies; and battery and intimidation with a deadly weapon, both class C felonies.
On Nov. 24, 1999, a woman contacted the Indiana State Police to report that she had been raped by a man on Nov. 23, 1999, in the Warsaw area. During the course of the investigation, the woman submitted to a rape examination and rape kit collection. The rape kit, as well as the woman’s clothing, were submitted to a police laboratory for testing to find DNA evidence.
The woman was then interviewed by an Indiana State Trooper. According to court documents, the woman said on Nov. 23, 1999, she was driving when she experienced car trouble in Warsaw. She stopped at a gas station in downtown Warsaw to check the transmission fluid on her vehicle.
While the woman was checking her vehicle, a man approached her from behind and said, “Let’s take a ride.” She described the suspect as a black man with facial hair; however, the woman said the facial hair didn’t appear real, as it was sticky and peeled off. The woman said the man was armed with a knife that appeared to have a six-inch blade.
The man ordered the woman into her vehicle and took off driving with her inside. While driving, the man punched the woman in the head when she kept asking to be let go.
The man drove the woman to a remote wooded area and made the woman exit the vehicle. He allegedly used the knife to remove the woman’s clothes and held the knife to her throat.
The man said he was going to have sexual intercourse with the woman. During the incident, the woman screamed and started to hit the man; the man punched the woman on both sides of her face, causing visible injuries. The man then forcibly had sexual intercourse with the woman.
After a period of time, the man stopped and fled through the woods. The woman was able to drive her vehicle away from the scene of the sexual assault and find her way home.
Indiana State Police, with cooperation from Kosciusko County law enforcement agencies, conducted an investigation of the matter but were unable to identify the man at that time.
On April 15, 2019, almost 20 years after the incident, officers received an email from a forensic scientist at the ISP laboratory. The forensic officer said a search of the Combined DNA Index System resulted in a computer match between a convicted offender sample from Todd, and a portion of the DNA profile obtained from the woman’s clothing.
Police found that Todd held a California operator’s license with an address in San Diego, Calif., and that he previously had an Indiana operator’s license and resided in the State of Indiana in 1999.
In June 2019, a search warrant was executed on Todd and swabs for DNA were collected. These swabs were taken to a police laboratory for analysis.
In Oct. 2019, the police laboratory reported the analysis of the DNA collected from the woman’s pants included a DNA profile at least one trillion times more likely if it originated from the woman and Todd than if it originated from the woman and an unknown person.
In January of this year, the police laboratory said analysis from DNA collected from the woman as part of the rape kit included a DNA profile at least one trillion times more likely if it originated from the woman and Todd than if it originated from the woman and an unknown person. The report further stated that “statistical analysis provides very strong support for the inclusion of Todd.”
Todd was booked in the Kosciusko County Jail on June 30, with a $100,500 surety and cash bond.