William Louis Nichols has been identified as the lead suspect in the April 7, 1983 sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl in Hernando County, Florida. The case has been cleared by exception due to the death of Nichols.
The girl was at home with a 10-year-old friend and her 9-year-old sister while her parents were out shopping. An intruder knocked on the door, spoke to the girls, and then snuck inside through the garage. He put a knife to her 9-year-old sister’s throat. He raped the 12-year-old at knife point, telling her that he would harm the other two girls if she did not do as he said.
A DNA profile was developed in 2005 from semen found at a crime scene. The DNA profiling was conducted by DNA Labs International and the FGG investigation was conducted by Parabon. The confirmation was made to a living relative.
Nichols died from cancer in Orlando in 1998. He had been convicted of sexual assaults in 1958 and 1972. For the latter crime he was found incompetent to stand trial and spent a short time in a mental hospital. Shortly after being released he was charged with another rape, but those charges were dismissed.
Magness, Josh. “A 12-Year-Old in Florida Was Raped in 1983. Cops Now Have a Suspect, but it’s Too Late.” Miami Herald, January 10, 2019. Accessed December 26, 2020. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article224232165.html.
Stubbs, Nick. “‘It’s Absolute’: DNA Analysis Closed Hernando Cold Case.” Sun Coast News, January 25, 2019. Accessed December 26, 2020. http://www.suncoastnews.com/news/dna-analysis-closed-hernando-cold-case/article_8a21601c-20d6-11e9-b3ed-6f7edc93372d.html.
Tatham, Chelsea. “Genetic DNA Evidence Helps Investigators Solve 1983 Rape of 12-Year-Old Girl.” WTSP News, January 10, 2019. Accessed December 26, 2020. https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/crime/genetic-dna-evidence-helps-investigators-solve-1983-rape-of-12-year-old-girl/67-8aaf63d6-4ca2-47d2-8980-bcd067af1303.
Trombly, Justin. “Hernando Sheriff Identifies Suspect in 1983 Child Rape Case.” Tampa Bay Times, January 10, 2019. Accessed December 26, 2020. https://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/hernando-sheriff-identifies-suspect-in-1983-child-rape-case-20190110/.