The news release below is an exception to the rule because I'm thrilled that an alleged serial rapist has been arrested and charged but the release below also clears up a mystery.
Some time ago, the police department issued an alert that hotels and motels were reporting the exterior portion of door peepholes were coming up missing. Police asked that the public be alert and notify police if they had any information regarding missing peepholes. It was a strange request to me and to most of the people who commented to me about it. Now, it appears the missing peepholes, at least in some cases, might have been related to these crimes. Anyway, here's the city's news release in its entirety:
Over time, law enforcement has seen many helpful advances in the use of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) as evidence, mostly due to the technological development of equipment used to gather DNA profiles. It is widely believed that DNA will continue to play an increasing role in the effort to bring suspects to justice. A recent case highlights this trend.
With information developed using DNA, the Springfield Police Department made an arrest Wednesday for a rape that happened in October of this year. After further investigation and interviews with the suspect, police now believe the same individual is responsible for at least five rapes that have occurred in Springfield since January of 2000.
Initially, just two assaults from January ‘07 and Mar ’08 appeared to share similar characteristics. The victims in each case reported similar details, however the suspect’s face was concealed in each incident. This combined with little recovered evidence left police few leads to follow, except for the fact that sometimes the victim’s front door was missing it’s peephole. At the time, at least 150 peepholes had been discovered missing at various locations throughout the city, so the police department issued an alert asking the public to be aware of the trend.
One more rape occurred in October ‘08 at 664 S. Kentwood. In this case, DNA evidence was seized from the crime scene.
Detectives checked the DNA sample against a statewide database and found it matched a DNA profile taken from an unsolved rape in Fulton, MO. This was the first solid piece of evidence that linked the rapist to more than one assault, but detectives still did not have a named suspect. Numerous persons of interest had been identified up to that point, however they had all been cleared through investigation.
After discovering the suspect had attacked a woman in Fulton, detectives matched their notes with details learned during that investigation. By combining the information and checking it against department resources, police were able to identify a possible suspect that could have been responsible for assaults in both cities.
Detectives identified a possible suspect and began performing surveillance. After recovering additional evidence, police took Bobbie Andrew McGhee of Springfield into custody on Wednesday morning. Later that day, detectives developed evidence that he was also responsible for two additional rapes, one from January ‘00 and the other, from July ’08.
McGhee, 46 years old, has since been charged with fifteen criminal counts including Forcible Rape, Forcible Sodomy and 1st Degree Burglary. There is no bond set for McGhee.
The following is a breakdown of incidents in which McGhee has been charged.
January 2000 - 1772 S. Glenstone – (Lamp Lighter Inn)
January 2007 - 1772 S. Glenstone – (Lamp Lighter Inn)
March 2008 - 2750 N. Glenstone (Hampton Inn)
July 2008 - 1364 E. McDaniel
October 2008 - 664 S. Kentwood
Police investigation is ongoing, and detectives are currently examining past unsolved sexual assaults to determine if any connection to McGhee exists. Anyone else with information about the incident is encouraged call 417-864-1810 or make an anonymous report at 417-869-TIPS (Crime Stoppers).
SPD Case Number: Assorted
Media Contact: Police Chief Lynn Rowe, phone: 417-864-1782; Release
authorized by: Major Kevin Routh