Cedar City man charged in 2003 rape of 13-year-old after new DNA tests


CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Cedar City man was recently charged with raping a 13-year-old in 2003 after newer testing resulted in a DNA match.

40-year-old Shawn Michael Smith was charged on Tuesday in Iron County with first-degree felony rape and sodomy of a child, and felony counts of obstruction of justice and aggravated assault.

Charging documents state a 13-year-old girl was taken to the emergency room of Valley View Medical Center on June 26, 2003, on a sexual assault report. An examination was completed at that time, and DNA samples were taken.

During an interview with police, the girl indicated she has been staying at a woman’s house with her daughters and Smith, who was 23 at the time.

The girl said on June 25, 2003, Smith drove her to the woman’s while the others were not home, and when they entered, Smith locked the door behind them.

The girl said she went into the bathroom to fix her hair when Smith suggested they engage in sexual activity. The girl told him no and that she was only 13. The girl said he told her he made a statement about forcing her to have sex, and he jerked her into the hallway, brandished a knife, and took her into a bedroom, and raped her. He then forced her to try to wash away the evidence and told her he would kill her if she told anyone, documents state.

Police also interviewed Smith at the time of the report. Smith was in possession
of a knife but denied having sexual intercourse with the girl.

Officers obtained a blood sample from Smith and the swabbings and samples were sent to the State of Utah Crime Laboratory for testing. The lab found a small amount of semen during a microscopic exam but was unable to analyze it further and make a positive match to Smith.

The State of Utah obtained funds allowing for the re-testing of previously tested samples in which a DNA profile was not obtained, and DNA testing and available technology has improved over the last 20 years.

In 2018, the State Crime Lab sent the samples of DNA in the Smith case to Bode Cellmark Forensics who through putting the samples into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), they were able to find a match between Smith’s DNA and the rape kit samples taken of the girl.

Smith’s background check showed in 1997, and he was convicted of 1st-degree felony aggravated robbery and tampering with a witness and has been in prison off and on. Since then, he has been convicted of felony possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person, felony drug possession, and two counts of theft.

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