Connecticut sex offender arrested in Florida girl’s 1996 death
HARTFORD, Conn. – A database of DNA from convicted sex offenders has linked a Connecticut man to the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Florida almost 10 years ago, police said Thursday.Robert S. Mitchell, 43, was being held on $5 million bail after being arraigned Thursday as a fugitive from justice. He waived extradition, and will face first-degree murder and sexual battery charges in the death of sixth-grader Cherie Morrisette, police said.Liz Walters said she had been waiting nearly a decade to find out what happened to her daughter. “There’s no such thing as safe neighborhoods,” she told The St. Augustine Record on Thursday. “Things happen everywhere.”Connecticut state troopers and New Britain police said DNA from a national database allegedly linked Mitchell to the girl’s death.Cherie’s body was found Dec. 8, 1996, in the St. John’s River about 10 miles from the apartment she shared with her family in Jacksonville, Fla.At the time, Mitchell lived in a nearby town, police said.Connecticut authorities obtained a DNA sample from Mitchell after he was convicted in 2003 of illegal sexual contact with a child, according to state records. In June 2004, Mitchell was placed on the Connecticut sex offender list after his release from prison.A DNA sample taken from Cherie’s body matched the DNA taken from Mitchell, police said, starting a process of retesting that led to his arrest.—Associated Press Writer Ron Word in Jacksonville, Fla., contributed to this report.Vail, Colorado
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