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Five-year-old rape case finds closure

By Staff | Nov 10, 2008

Lee County Sheriff’s Office detectives have uncovered the truth about a 5-year-old sexual battery case in North Fort Myers, according to officials.

DNA evidence has reportedly identified Micah Lynn Lawson, 28, as the attacker in a 2003 rape of a then 76-year-old woman.

Lawson was already in custody in the Lee County Jail on unrelated charges this week when CODIS — a computer software program that operates local, state and national databases of DNA profiles from convicted offenders — matched Lawson to DNA taken at the crime scene, officials said.

According to a prepared statement, “The victim was sleeping on a living room sofa when she was awakened to a hand being held over her mouth and an unknown white male whispering to her. The victim began to scream and the suspect punched her in the mouth. She complied as he proceeded to commit the sexual battery.”

Sheriff Mike Scott said the case was growing colder as the years passed since the attack, and without Lawson’s recent DNA sample the crime would still be unsolved.

“Without Lawson’s recent sample, no match could’ve been made,” Scott said.

The DNA reportedly linked Lawson to the victim in more ways than one.

Scott said the victim partially raised Lawson as a child, taking Lawson and his brother into their home for holidays and baby-sitting.

Scott added that the victim did not recognize Lawson during the attack, as the last time she had seen him was when he was 14.

“Lawson left a teenager and came back a grown man,” Scott said.

The victim is now deceased but her family, who lives in Lee County, stayed diligent in working with the sheriff’s office, hoping one day to bring the perpetrator to justice.

Deputies said “numerous” attempts to obtain investigative leads have been employed in efforts to solve the case including Crime Stoppers billboards.

Leads were developed and pursued through the years but none resulted in developing a firm suspect.

Arrested in September for a number of crimes including burglary and cocaine possession, Lawson is now charged with sexual battery of an elderly person, abuse of the elderly and burglary with battery. His criminal history extends back to 2003, according to officials.

“It was like ultimate betrayal,” Scott said of the crime. “It was a horrific betrayal.”