DNA ties man to 17-year-old River Walk rape case, authorities say

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio Police Department made an arrest in a 17-year-old rape case after DNA tied a man to the rape, according to an affidavit.

Joe Tapia, 57, was arrested and charged with sexual assault after authorities in Corpus Christi collected a DNA sample from Tapia that matched DNA obtained from the rape kit administered in October 2015.

An affidavit details the lengthy process leading up to Tapia's arrest.

According to court documents, the victim told police she was crying while walking along the River Walk on Oct. 15, 2000 when Tapia approached her and began talking with her. 

The woman told investigators Tapia suddenly forced himself on her and threatened to kill her if she fought him. The victim said she was able to get away from Tapia after the attack and followed him to a bus stop where he told the victim his name was Joe.

DNA from the woman's rape kit was submitted as evidence on Aug. 13, 2013 and entered into CODIS, the FBI's DNA database.

Authorities in Corpus Christi served a warrant to collect a DNA sample from Tapia on Dec. 17, 2015. The evidence was submitted to the DPS crime lab and on Dec. 20, 2016, a DNA report from DPS linked Tapia to the attack.

Bexar County Court records show Tapia has a lengthy criminal past with a slew of robbery, drug possession, resisting arrest and trespass convictions dating back to 1979. 

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