DNA evidence leads to Alleghany County man's arrest in connection with '98 Florida rape case

DNA eventually gave detectives the name of their suspect

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A Low Moor, Virginia, man is in custody in connection with a series of crimes committed nearly 20 years ago in Florida.

Cornelious Florman, 51, was arrested on a warrant charging him with sexual battery, kidnapping and carjacking. 

On June 22, 1998, Lee County Sheriff's Office deputies received a call in reference to a sexual battery on Fort Myers Beach.

The victim told deputies she was leaving a bar when she was approached by a man she knew as "Cody" who asked for "a ride off the beach."  

She agreed, but while she was driving, the man punched her in the face, causing her to lose consciousness, according to the Sheriff's Office. She later woke up in a wooded area and discovered she had been sexually assaulted.

DNA eventually gave detectives the name of their suspect. The DNA analysis for the Fort Myers Beach case resulted in a match to Florman.  

He was taken into custody in Virginia and will be transported back to Lee County to be booked into the Lee County Jail.

"We've come a long way with DNA analysis since 1998," says Undersheriff Carmine Marceno.  "This is a classic case where you can run from the crime, but you can't hide from the evidence."

Florida Legislature has passed a new law that requires law enforcement to submit rape kits to a statewide crime lab within 30 days of the sexual offense. The crime labs must complete the rape kits within 120 days. Governor Rick Scott also has given Florida law enforcements three years to clear all  backlogged rape kits.


About the Author: