Spokane deputies arrest suspect in 2002 child rape cold case

ELK, Wash. – An admitted child rapist is now in custody, nearly 20 years after the crime the committed. 

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office arrested Richard Johnson, 53, during a traffic stop last Wednesday. He is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl near Elk Park on August 21, 2002. 

At the time, the victim said Johnson was reportedly sitting in a truck listening to loud music. The Sheriff’s Office said he coerced her into his truck, isolated her and then sexually assaulted her.

A rape kit was collected shortly after. 

In 2020, the rape kit was analyzed by the Washington State Crime Lab, which found male DNA from an unknown individual. 

Months later, the DNA was matched in the Combined DNA Index System to Johnson, but his whereabouts were unknown. 

He was arrested during the recent traffic stop and confessed to the crime during an interview.  

Johnson remains in the Spokane County Jail on charges of first-degree child rape and unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation. 

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