Rape kit tests lead to arrest in decade-old assault in Winnebago County

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WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Charges have been filed in a decade-old sexual assault case in Winnebago County.

This marks the first arrest stemming from the Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice says Aaron J. Heiden, 29, is charged with two felony counts for the sexual assault of a woman in 2008.

A criminal complaint obtained by Action 2 News says the assault happened in the town of Menasha, which is now known as Fox Crossing.

On Aug. 2, 2008, the victim said she went out to a bar in Darboy where she met the suspect and they went home together. She said sex turned into "rough sex" that was painful and she begged him to stop.

She says the man did not stop. At one point, he grabbed her and slammed her against a bedroom wall, according to the complaint.

The victim said that after the man left, she noticed she had pain and was bleeding. She went to the hospital for a sexual assault exam.

A dectective collected evidence from the victim's home.

On Feb. 1, 2017, the sexual assault kit was sent to the Wisconsin State Crime Lab for testing. A DNA profile provided a hit for Aaron Heiden.

A Fox Crossing detective traveled to Eau Claire, where Heiden now lives. He took a swab which concluded the DNA match, according to the complaint.

Heiden appeared in Winnebago County Wednesday where the court ordered a $3,000 bond.

The Wisconsin Sexual Assault Kit Initiative is an effort to solve sex assault cases from kits that were never submitted to the state crime lab for testing. Some of these unsolved cases date back decades.

"As a whole, we failed our victims in the past, and kits either weren't dealt with the best way they could have been or were put into storage at police departments or hospitals and that kind of halted not only the investigative process, but anything that could have come afterwards, the legal process," said Jessica Schneider of Reach Counseling who attended the court hearing.

Schneider expects this case to be the first of many to move forward that were previously unsolved.

She added, "We know from other areas of the country that have already gone through an initiative like this that there are serial offenders out there, and we do expect to be making connections between untested kits and unsolved crimes."

Survivors who aren't sure if their kit was tested should call 1-800-446-6564 or go online to http://byyoursidewi.org/



 
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