MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A 28-year-old man is accused of preying on a 68-year-old woman living in a senior living apartment complex in Muskegon.
The alleged sexual assault happened nearly a year ago, but prosecutors tell 24 Hour News 8 that they now have a suspect in Custody.
Police say this incident is the rarest kind of sexual assault – rape committed by a complete stranger.
“These are the folks we should fear the most, those that are actually out looking for a victim, in particular in this instance, a very vulnerable victim,” said Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson.
The alleged assault happened at the Hickory Village Apartments, a senior living facility where crime is almost unheard of, situated along Quarterline Road near Apple Avenue.
Muskegon Police say on Sept. 20, 2017, the woman awoke around 4 a.m. and was on her porch when she was approached by a man she had never seen before.
After talking briefly, the man grabbed her around the neck and told her not to make a sound or he would harm her, according to the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office.
He then forced her into her apartment where he raped her and then stole her cell phone, police say.
National statistics show only about 28 percent of sexual assaults are committed by strangers, most sexual assaults are committed by family members, husbands or boyfriends.
In addition to being rare, assaults by strangers are more difficult to solve because there is no connection and the perpetrator can simply disappear — which explains why it took so long to make an arrest.
In this case, it was a DNA match through the FBI’s database that helped solve this crime.
“It’s a rare instance, but this does I think always help us remember that we can’t get too comfortable sometimes, we always have to be aware of what’s happening around us,” Hilson said. “When we can actually at least put a case in a position where we can charge an individual that’s accused of that, that always sends a very positive message that we are there to protect against these random acts of violence.”
Police arrested 28-year-old Dandre Smart, who has been arraigned on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and faces a maximum of life in prison, if convicted.
Smart has a series or run-ins with police in Muskegon and elsewhere including a conviction for domestic violence in 2012 and receiving and concealing stolen goods in 2016 – both misdemeanors.
When he was arrested, police say he resisted police and attempted to flee leading to an additional charge.
Smart is held at the Muskegon County Jail on a $505,000 bond and is due in court in 10 days for a probable cause hearing.