Man arrested for sexual assault on 74-year-old in Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” A 74-year-old woman told a Garfield County Sheriff’s Office detective she was too afraid to fall asleep in her own bed after waking to a man sexually assaulting her in the middle of the night May 29.
She still couldn’t sleep, even after bars were put on her bedroom window, and her pastor put new dead-bolts and locks on the doors and windows.
On Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office said it arrested the man who did it after months of investigation that turned up DNA evidence linking him to the crime. Dale R. Loper, 31, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of six felonies including sexual assault armed with a deadly weapon, sexual assault on an at-risk victim and sexual assault causing serious bodily injury.
Loper was still being held in the Garfield County Jail Thursday on $85,000 bond. He lived in New Castle and Glenwood Springs for about a year and is originally from New Mexico.
The 74-year-old woman, who lived with her mother who was in her 90s, told investigators she woke that night to a man standing at the foot of her bed who held her down and raped her, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
She said he held a knife against her and threatened to kill her if she screamed. The woman told a detective she kept fighting the man because she thought he would kill her, and he must have given up and left out the front door.
A detective said a rape exam was consistent with the woman’s account of the incident. The woman’s 90-year-old mother slept through the incident and wasn’t hurt.
Shortly after, community relations deputy Tanny McGinnis said that detectives would not release information about the case.
Loper was arrested on July 20 after a man told Glenwood Springs police someone climbed to his 8- and 15-year-old daughters’ bedroom window around 5 a.m. He said the man left to the east when confronted.
Police said they found Loper lying behind a fenced-in trash area 100 yards east from the man’s apartment near Glenwood Springs Middle School. He was arrested with a six-inch kitchen knife, a small flashlight, an open jar of Vaseline and a blue bandana, according to an arrest affidavit.
The detective for the Sheriff’s Office said Loper matched the description of the man in the July 20 case and wore the same shirt. The 74-year-old woman told the detective she was also awakened the morning of July 20 because her dog was barking ” something that doesn’t happen unless someone is close to the house. The next day, she gave the detective a cigarette butt outside her bedroom window, the affidavit says.
Sperm obtained from the woman’s sheets and DNA from a cigarette butt matched DNA Glenwood Springs police obtained from the insides of Loper’s cheeks, the affidavit says.
The cigarette indicates Loper returned to the elderly woman’s home about two months after the assault, potentially the same night he was arrested after allegedly climbing up to the two girls’ bedroom window and was chased away by their father, the affidavit says.
Loper will appear for formal filing of charges on Sept. 27.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
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