DNA leads to arrest in Janesville cold case

JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV)—DNA has helped identify a suspect in a Janesville cold case. 

According to the Janesville Police Department, 53-year-old Kelly L. Baxter was arrested on Wednesday at the Janesville Police Department. 

Police said they responded to a home in the 900 block of Sutherland for a forcible rape and burglary that happened during the early morning hours of April 4, 2000. An unknown man entered the home of a then 79-year-old woman and sexually assaulted her. After assaulting the victim, the suspect took off. Various items of evidence were collected from the crime scene including DNA evidence. The suspect at that time was never able to be identified. 

They said they were notified by the Wisconsin Crime lab on January 12, 2017 that they conducted a routine search of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) which revealed a match between the DNA previously submitted by the Janesville Police Department on the forcible rape and burglary case to a male suspect by the name of Kelly L. Baxter. 

Police said that Baxter was arrested by the Rock County Sheriff’s Office in August 2014 for an unrelated sexual assault to a child incident. Baxter was later convicted in August 2016 of 4th degree sexual assault. As a result of this conviction, Baxter’s DNA was collected and submitted to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab to be entered into CODIS in November 2016. 

Baxter has been charged with second degree sexual assault and burglary. His bond is set at $20,000 for his first offense and $10,000 for his second.