Virginia man arrested in 1998 Fort Myers Beach rape case

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FORT MYERS BEACH, Fla. A man identified as a suspect in a nearly 20-year-old rape case was arrested Tuesday and will be extradited to Florida, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said.

Cornelius Francis Florman, 51, of Low Moor, Virginia, faces charges of kidnapping, sexual battery and carjacking, deputies said.

The victim told authorities the rape happened on June 22, 1998 after she left the Reef Bar on 2601 Estero Blvd, deputies said. She was approached by a male known to her as Cody, who asked for a “ride off the beach,” she told deputies.

The victim was driving toward the Matanzas Pass Bridge when the man struck her in the face with his fist, causing her to lose consciousness, deputies said. She told deputies she awoke in a wooded area and found she had been sexually assaulted.

A DNA sample taken from the victim shortly after she said the rape took place was found to be a match with a sample on file for Florman, according to court documents.

MORE: DNA evidence ties man to 1998 Fort Myers Beach rape

The DNA sample from Florman stemmed from a previous rape conviction.

Florman was taken into custody in Virginia and will be transported to the Lee County Jail, deputies said.

“We’ve come a long way with DNA analysis since 1998,” Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno said. “This is a classic case where you can run from the crime, but you can’t hide from the evidence.”

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