A convicted rapist set to be released from the McNeil Island Special Commitment Center later this month has been arrested after DNA linked him to a 2004 rape in Spokane.
Scott Raymond Halvorson, also known as Raymond Reynolds, faces charges of first-degree rape, second-degree rape and second-degree assault, according to court documents.
Halvorson’s convictions date back to 1988, when he was convicted of luring a 4-year-old girl to his Spokane County apartment. Before his sentencing in that case, Halvorson also raped a 10-year-old girl at knifepoint, according to court records.
He was again convicted of rape in 2008 and was civilly committed to McNeil Island in 2014.
In June, Halvorson was granted his petition to be released back into the Spokane community, where he would have been supervised by the Department of Corrections. His release date was set for Sept. 21.
Just weeks after that June hearing, Spokane police officers, investigating cold cases through a Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs grant, picked up a new case.
DNA from a 2004 rape was submitted for testing in 2020. It took a year before the kit was tested and uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), where it matched Halvorson.
It was by chance that the results came back shortly before Halvorson was set to be released, said Sgt. Zachary Storment, one of the investigators working on the project.
For years, Washington had a large backlog of sexual assault evidence kits, commonly called “rape kits.” This changed about six years ago, when the state Legislature passed a bill requiring departments to submit the kits for testing within 30 days. At the same time, the legislature provided funding to the Washington State Crime Lab to test the 10,370 backlogged kits.
The results for the 2004 Spokane rape were confirmed with a new DNA sample from Halvorson, Storment said. Then they contacted the victim, who told officers her story.
In 2004, a 52-year-old woman working as a sex worker reported a client had violently assaulted her. The victim told police the rapist had tried to strangle her.
“I thought I was dead,” she told officers at the time, according to court documents.
After the assault, Halvorson drove away, the victim told police. While she was reluctant to report the assault to law enforcement, she went to the hospital.
There, police responded and took the victim’s statement but were unable to locate a suspect.
The victim was hard to find after she filed the report, Storment said. Multiple attempts to contact her went unanswered and the investigation stalled until last year, when the DNA evidence was submitted for testing.
The victim, now in her late 60s, told police she wanted to press charges if her attacker could be identified, although she is still scared he would retaliate against her.
With the DNA match, police had enough evidence to arrest Halvorson.
A Spokane patrol officer had also done a lot of work on the case back in 2004, Storment said. Her work will prove valuable if the case makes it to trial, he said.
A conviction on these allegations would make Halvorson a persistent offender, requiring a sentence of life without the possibility of release, according to court documents.
A warrant for Halvorson’s arrest was issued on Sept. 3. He was transferred from McNeil Island to the Spokane County Jail on Tuesday.
The Halvorson case is arguably the most high-profile to come out of the sexual assault cold case project in Spokane, alongside just a handful of other cases forwarded to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office.
A few hundred more cases have been closed, often due to lack of new leads or at the request of the victim. The police department is working with Lutheran Community Services Northwest to provide counseling and victim advocacy for people impacted in these cases.
About half of Washington’s kits had been tested as of November. While the kits are being tested, that doesn’t mean the results are being investigated. Few departments have the resources to investigate the large number of cases, Storment said.
Investigating the 1,500 cases with untested kits has proven to be a larger project than expected, Storment said.
“We made a bad estimate. We thought we could get through it in a year or two,” Storment said. “I don’t know now, I really don’t.”
Still, he sees this case as a sign that justice is possible.
“I’m grateful that we actually found something like this case that shows it is worth doing,” Storment said of the project.
If you’re a victim of a sexual assault, you can report the crime to police by calling (509) 625-4240 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The Lutheran Community Services Sexual Assault Support Line receives calls or texts 24/7 at (509) 624-7273.
Emma Epperly can be reached at (509) 459-5122 or at email@example.com.
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