Special to Iredell Free News

A Mooresville man faces charges in a rape and assault that occurred in Mooresville nearly four decades ago following a multi-agency investigation.

James Wilson

James Frederick Wilson, 59, was arrested on Thursday and charged with felony forcible rape with a weapon and felony assault in the first-degree with a deadly weapon. He is being held under a $1 million secured bond at the Iredell County Detention Center pending extradition to Missouri.

In early September, Mooresville Police Department detectives were asked to assist the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI) on a cold case investigation of a rape and attempted murder that occurred 38 years ago in Missouri, according to an MPD news release.

The cold case involved a rape and attempted murder that occurred on March 24, 1984, in Columbia, Mo. The victim encountered an unknown suspect while walking to work and was abducted at knifepoint. The suspect drove the victim to a dead-end road where the victim was raped, according to the news release. The suspect then attempted to kill the victim and left her to die in a nearby creek.

The victim sustained serious life-threatening injuries but survived, police said.

In 2020, the case was assigned to a cold case detective with the Columbia Police Department. The detective utilized new DNA evidence technology to further the investigation.

By using this new technology in connection with a commercial genealogy DNA service, Wilson was identified as a suspect, police said.

Wilson is a former resident of Columbia, Mo., who now resides in Mooresville.

MPD detectives, working with NCSBI agents, were able to assist CPD Detectives in their investigation by covertly obtaining a DNA sample from Wilson.

After known samples from the suspect were recovered, they were sent to the CPD for analysis. The collected samples from the suspect matched DNA evidence recovered as part of the original
investigation, according to the news release.

Based on this DNA match, arrest warrants for the suspect were obtained along with a search warrant for his residence at 110 Ashton Park Drive. Wilson was arrested on October 27 without incident by MPD detectives, NCSBI agents, and CPD detectives.

Anyone with information regarding this case can contact MPD Detectives at 704-664-3311 or contact CPD Detectives at ColumbiaPoliceTipline@Como.gov or 573-874-7400.