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After DNA test, man charged with 2001 rape of Valparaiso woman

Updated: August 20, 2014 6:13AM



VALPARAISO — A man already behind bars in Missouri was charged Friday with raping a Northwest Indiana woman more than 13 years ago after police sent old DNA samples for testing and found a match.

Joseph P. Cobb, 43, has been charged with attacking a woman outside a Valparaiso bar on June 22, 2001, according to the Porter County Prosecutor’s office.

Cobb was convicted of forgery and is serving a five-year sentence in the Moberly Correctional Center in Moberly, Missouri, and will be brought to Valapraiso to stand trial on the new charges after his release in December 2015, according to a statement from prosecutor Brian Gensel.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Porter Superior Court, Cobb met the victim at the former Jackson’s Bar on U.S. 30 and Axe Avenue in Valparaiso, where he sat down next to her and asked her to dance.

The woman told police after one dance she wanted get away from the man, so she left the bar and started walking home. But Cobb approached her on Axe Avenue near the railroad tracks and asked if he could go home with her, the complaint states.

When she said no, he told her to go behind a building or he would kill her, put an object to her neck and threatened to “slit her throat,” removed her pants and raped her, the complaint states.

When he was finished, he helped her get dressed and “continually apologized for raping her,” the complaint states, but when she tried to run away, he forced her to the back of the building again, removed her clothing and again raped her, according to the complaint.

After the second attack, she started to walk away, and when her attacker did not follow, she ran home and called police. She suffered scratches to her back and legs and bruising to her left eye, the report stated.

While DNA was found at the scene, it was never matched to anything and the case went cold, but on Nov. 20, 2012, during a review of sexual assault kits at the Valparaiso Police Department, “the decision was made to submit the sexual assault kit to the Indiana State Police laboratory for DNA testing.”

“The National DNA Database found it was consistent with the Missouri convicted offender sample from Joseph Parnell Cobb,” according to the complaint.

On May 28, police interviewed Cobb who initially denied raping anyone, though he did admit following a woman from the bar and having consensual sex, the complaint states. Asked about the woman’s injuries, he told police “she wanted the sex rough.”

Cobb’s DNA then was resampled in Missouri and proved a match, the complaint states.

Cobb is charged with felony counts of rape and criminal deviant conduct, according to Gensel.



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