DNA evidence leads to arrest in 2003 sexual assault case


by Jessica Gruenling

ANCHORAGE, Ak-- Eleven years ago a woman reported to the Anchorage Police Department that she had been sexually assaulted and underwent a rape exam.

At that time, the victim was unable to name any suspects or provide the location of the rape.

And the case went cold.

"In January of 2012 the state of Alaska crime detection laboratory sent APD a DNA CODIS hit letter stating the DNA from the victims rape kit had been matched to an individual named Orlin Sutliff," Brett Sarber, Detective, APD.

In November 2003 a female victime says she was outside Chilkoot Charlies waiting for a ride form her sister when she was offered a ride from an unkown male.

She accepted.

But, she was not taken home. Instead he took her to an East Anchorage Apartment where she was allegedly brutally raped by Sutliff and at least six other men.

"Fearing for her life she was able to escape the apartment only to be forced into a vehicle operated and occupied by many of the same individuals who had sexually assaulted her. She was driven to the shopping center at Boniface and Debarr and she was pushed out of the car," Detective Sarber.

Police say the victims saving grace was that she reported the crime right away and they were able to identify Sutliff becuase of a law change in 2005 that all people convicted of a crime must submit a DNA sample.

"Had it not been for that law changing prior to 2005-2006 we wouldn't be here on this case today because that is exactly how we got the lead," Detective Sarber.

"Definitley it's a really good feeling for us as a police department to solve these types of cases,"Lieutenant Kenneth McCoy, APD.

"She is obviously very encouraged by that, but it's also brought up a lot of emotions and thigns that transpired back then that she now has to live through again, so it's very difficult," Detective Sarber.

Police have identified other persons of interest and continue to look into their potential involvement in the case.

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