Rogers police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a suspect in the 1997 rape of a Frank Tillery Elementary School teacher on the campus at 621 W. Elm St., according to a police department news release on Tuesday (Jan. 14).
The rape occurred that year on Sunday, Nov. 9, after the teacher left her classroom to use the restroom, according to the news release.
The teacher “routinely went to her classroom on Sunday mornings to prepare lesson plans and tidy up her classroom for the upcoming week,” the release states.
On that Sunday, some 250 people who normally would not have been at the school were attending a church service in the cafeteria. The man was armed with a pistol and was wearing a knit stocking cap and sunglasses, according to the release.
“We have tracked down people, cars, everything that we can possibly do,” said Officer Keith Foster with the Rogers Police Department. “It’s one of those things where any little bit of new information could be the final piece we need to solve this whole thing.”
Police re-released a sketch of the suspect, hoping someone might see the drawing and help investigators with the case.
“We do this periodically. We will open it back up and put it out in the public and see if someone remembers something or if someone told them something—anything like that,” Foster said.
The suspect, who was between 20-30 years old at the time, was between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-9 and had a beer belly but was not overweight, the release states. He would be between 37-47 years old now.
Deedra Carter lived in Rogers in 1997 and remembers hearing about the rape.
“My feelings were that justice needs to be done in any crime. Find the person that did it and then do the court of law,” she said.
Carter said she hopes someone steps forward to help catch the suspect this time.
“Put yourself in the position of a loved one that was violated and how would you feel if it was your mom, your dad, your brother or sister,” she said.