TAMPA (WFLA) – A man has been charged with sexual battery in a rape case that occurred nearly 20 years ago.
According to the Tampa Police Department, the victim told police on Dec. 17, 2000, that an intruder had his face covered up to his eyes with a mask when he sexually battered the woman. A sexual battery kit was conducted and uploaded into the police department’s combined DNA index system but no match was found.
In 2001, a Tampa Police Officer attempted to stop Antonio Rivers for a traffic violation. Rivers fled on foot and discarded a silver semi-automatic pistol. The gun was recovered and Rivers was apprehended. Rivers admitted to officers he had owned the pistol for about 2 years.
In January 2020, a Tampa Police Latent Fingerprint Specialist re-analyzed prints that were collected during the rape and burglary investigation and the prints matched with Rivers’ booking records.
Based on Rivers statement in his 2001 arrest, he was in possession of a silver in color semi-automatic pistol at about the same time the burglary and rape were committed.
Rivers was brought in for buccal swab and denied ever being at the crime scene, knowing or recognizing the victim, and stated his DNA, prints, or hairs should not be found at the crime scene.
This past week the lab report analysis from the FDLE determined the DNA from the buccal swab to be a match to the DNA collected during the sexual assault exam.
Rivers was arrested and charged with armed sexual battery and armed burglary of a dwelling.
The Tampa Police Chief has a message for victims and criminals
“We will never give up on our commitment to find justice for victims and hold criminals accountable”, said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan. “While it may sometimes take longer than we hope, we want every crime victim to know we never think of an investigation as a “cold case” and will use every advancement in investigative approach and technology to review cases that are not yet solved”.