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Charges filed in 8-year-old Salt Lake rape case

Charges filed in 8-year-old Salt Lake rape case

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SALT LAKE CITY — Police and prosecutors believe they have solved an eight-year-old rape case in which detectives say a woman was attacked after three men broke into her apartment to rob her.

Bakar Mohammed Mberwa, 28, was charged in 3rd District Court on Thursday with rape and aggravated burglary, both first-degree felonies.

On Dec. 13, 2009, a woman awoke to three men in her bedroom who proceeded to blindfold, gag and tie her up using scarves and belts in her apartment, according to charging documents.

"(The woman) was left tied up, face down on her bed with her hands behind her back," the charges state.

As she was being tied up, the woman felt what she thought was a gun being pressed against her back, according to court documents.

While she was on her stomach and the men were allegedly burglarizing her house, "one of the suspects had told her that she was 'cute,'" according to a search warrant filed in the case in July.

A short time later, one of the men raped her, the charges state. But the woman could not see which one.

"After the male stopped, both males continued to rummage through her apartment," according to the charges.

The woman freed herself after the men left. Police "eventually closed the case due to lack of information to identify the suspects," the warrant states.

But in June 2017, a national DNA database came up with a match for the DNA collected from the victim. Police interviewed Mberwa in November and collected another DNA sample, the charges state. The Utah State Crime Lab tested the sample and it again matched, according to court records.

Court records show Mberwa has several theft and burglary convictions since 2009.

Bail was set Thursday at $500,000.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021 after many years of reporting for the Deseret News


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