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Masked rapist who hit teen girl in head with an axe may have been Fort Bragg soldier: Police

The 16-year-old girl may have saved her own life by playing dead

Authorities in Harris County, Texas, have made an arrest in a five-year-old unsolved rape and assault case involving a 16-year-old victim.

KHOU reports that Fort Bragg soldier Levi Goss, 24, was arrested in North Carolina last month in connection to the brutal sexual assault of a teen girl in February 2013. The 16-year-old was reportedly walking near Cypress Woods High School when a masked suspect attacked her, hitting her in the head with an axe. According to the account the victim shared with police, the suspect then dragged her to a field and raped her before hitting her in the head again with the axe.

The girl told police she played dead until the suspect had left the scene. Naked and badly injured, the 16-year-old stumbled to a nearby movie theater to get help.

Because he was wearing a mask, the victim could not offer police much of a description of the suspect, but an employee at a nearby gas station reportedly told police he had seen a man come in wearing a bloody shirt and change his shirt in the bathroom. He left the bloody shirt behind, and police retrieved it the next day.

According to the report, authorities had DNA for the suspect but did not find a match until the Army tested Goss’s DNA when he joined in 2016, per military policy, and uploaded it to a national database when the Army was investigating rape charges against Goss in 2017. The Department of Defense shared the result with Harris County authorities.

Local police reportedly shared the suspect’s photo with the gas station attendant, who recognized him as the man wearing the bloody shirt five years earlier.

According to WRAL, Goss is known to have relatives who lived near the area where the alleged rape took place. The suspect is reportedly behind held at the  Cumberland County Detention Center until he is extradited to Texas, likely within the next 10 days.

ABC News reports that Goss is currently listed as active member of the Army, but he is expected to be dishonorably discharged.

 

[Feature image: Cumberland County Detention Center/Levi Goss]