DNA leads to charges in 2002 kidnapping, sexual assault of child

Kent County

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Wyoming police say they have arrested the person they believe kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 4-year-old girl 18 years ago.

It’s a case that has weighed heavily on the minds of investigators over the years.

“One detective told me, ‘I can retire now,'” Wyoming Public Safety Chief Kim Koster said after the arrest. “We have cases throughout our career that we never forget and this is one of them.”

Richard Adams, 44, was arraigned Friday morning on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under the age of 13, kidnapping, and second-degree CSC during a felony.

The assault happened in August 2002. The Wyoming Department of Public Safety says the 4-year-old was taken from the Amsterdam Gardens Apartment complex on Eastern Avenue. She later turned up on a stranger’s doorstep in rural Algoma Township, north of Grand Rapids. A record number if tips came in soon after the crime. Investigators had DNA evidence, but no match to a suspect.

Then, Nov. 3 of this year, they got the break they’d been waiting nearly two decades for.

Court records show Adams caused a disturbance at a family member’s home in the Wayland area. He was arrested on assault charges and a DNA sample was collected at the jail.

Two weeks later, Wyoming detectives got the call. Adams’ DNA matched what was found on the little girl.

Court records go on to say detectives then learned Adams had worked at the apartment complex from which the victim was kidnapped.

Charges were authorized and police arrested the man on Ionia Avenue SW near Buckley Street in Grand Rapids around 6 p.m. Thursday.

Online MSP records show Adams’ only criminal history in Michigan is a 2013 misdemeanor assault case to which he pleaded no contest and was jailed for 10 days.

He’s expected back in court for a probable cause hearing on the kidnapping and sexual assault charges in early December. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Chief Koster says the case is one example why her officers come to work every day.

“We have children of our own. We care for people,” she said. “And so we have the same emotion I think that the public is going to feel knowing that this case is going to come to a close.”

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