A 58-year-old Midland County man has been arrested in a cold case investigation dating back to 1996. Douglas Weber of Lincoln Township was taken into custody on Tuesday and arraigned on Wednesday November 2nd on 1st degree criminal sexual conduct charges.
Prosecutors say that early in the morning of January 7th, an 18-year-old female was driving home when her car broke down in Larkin Township. An unidentified male stranger stopped to help, and offered her a ride home, but instead drove her to a nearby field where he allegedly sexually assaulted her. The suspect then told the victim to get dressed and drove back to the road. He stopped when he saw the lights of a police vehicle, and the victim was able to escape and run home and tell her mother that she had been raped. Police were called, and the victim went to a local hospital where she was treated and a rape evidence kit was collected.
With no suspects, the evidence remained with the Midland County Sheriff’s Office until 2016, when new resources from the State of Michigan enabled the examination of untested kits. A full DNA profile of the suspect was created and entered into the State of Michigan CODIS system in 2018, with no suspect identified. A genealogy analysis led investigators to a family tree with ties in the Midland Area, after which the search was narrowed based on likely characteristics such as eye color.
According to prosecutors, on July 22nd, 2022 Weber was interviewed by Detective Brent Benzing of the Midland County Sheriff’s Office, and sample of Weber’s DNA was taken pursuant to a search warrant that had been authorized the day before. The Michigan State Police Crime Lab reported a positive match with the DNA sample from 1996, and Weber was arrested and arraigned on a single count of First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. He is currently housed in the Midland County Jail on a $500,000 bond.