Kurt Alan Rillema, 51, was arrested on April 17, 2023 and charged with a series of two cold case rapes that took place on golf courses in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
The first assault occurred on September 6, 1999 at the Twin Lakes Golf Course in Oakland, Michigan. The 22-year-old victim was approached by an unknown male when she was working at a food and beverage outlet near the back of the golf course. He asked her for directions, and then waited until the victim was alone at the back of the building. He then threatened her, forced her to remove her clothing, and sexually assaulted her.
The second assault happened on July 27, 2000 in State College, Pennsylvania. The circumstances were very similar. The assailant kidnapped a 19-year-old woman and raped her at knifepoint at the Penn State Blue Golf Course. He had tried to speak with her several times when she was jogging, asking her for a band-aid and directions to the club house. She tried to get away from him, but he grabbed her, put a knife to her throat, and dragged her into the trees near the 18th hole where he sexually assaulted her.
The two cases were linked together in the CODIS Crime Scene Index in 2004. A “John Doe” warrant was issued in 2011 in Pennsylvania, to stop the statute of limitations from running out. The case was reopened in July of 2021.
The FGG investigation was conducted by Parabon Nanolabs in partnership with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit and the Penn State Police. The DNA SNP profile was developed from the Michigan sample, as the original sample from the Pennsylvania case had to be destroyed according to state law.
The FGG investigation was narrowed down to three brothers. Kurt Rillema was in the area during both rapes: he lived very near the Twin Lakes Golf Course in 1999, and in September of 2000 he was visiting another brother who attended Penn State. He is also reported to have been an avid golfer. The final confirmation was made by surreptitious sampling from a styrofoam coffee cup discarded by Rillema at a car dealership. The Random Match Probability (RMP) in this case is reported to be 1 in 510 sextillion.
Rillema has no criminal record, and had never been a suspect in either of the cases. Police are encouraging other victims to come forward and assist in the investigation.
Rillema is facing charges of rape by forcible compulsion in State College, Pennsylvania, and charges of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct in the 52-3 District Court Criminal Division in Oakland County, Michigan. He is currently being held in Oakland County.
Shannon, Bill, and Maria Cade. “Cup of Coffee Solidifies 23-Year-Old State College Cold Case Investigation.” WTAJ, April 18, 2023. Last modified April 19, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2023. https://www.wtaj.com/news/local-news/cup-of-coffee-solidifies-23-year-old-state-college-cold-case-investigation/.
Staff Reports. “DNA Leads to Arrest of Michigan Man for 23-Year-Old Centre County Rape.” The Express, April 19, 2023. https://www.lockhaven.com/news/local-news/2023/04/dna-leads-to-arrest-of-michigan-man-for-23-year-old-centre-county-rape/.
Taylor, Michelle. “Genealogy Links Man to Two Rapes in 10 Months in Michigan, Pennsylvania.” Forensic Magazine, April 19, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2023. https://www.forensicmag.com/596248-Genealogy-Links-Man-to-Two-Rapes-in-10-Months-in-Michigan-Pennsylvania/.
Wingblad, Aileen. “Oakland County Businessman Jailed in Connection with 1999 Rape on Area Golf Course.” Royal Oak Tribune, April 18, 2023. Accessed April 21, 2023. https://www.dailytribune.com/2023/04/18/oakland-county-businessman-jailed-in-connection-with-1999-rape-on-oakland-township-golf-course/.