Man charged with raping elderly woman after DNA evidence linked him to crime

Posted at 11:52 AM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 18:47:23-04

CLAY COUNTY, Mo. — DNA evidence led Clay County prosecutors to charge a man with the robbery and rape of an elderly Smithville woman.

Fifty-seven-year-old Michael E. Whitford is charged with rape, sodomy, four counts of armed criminal action, robbery and burglary, with bond set at $500,000.

The burglary and sexual assault happened on May 12, 2017 in the area of F Highway and King Road in rural Clay County, which is near Smithville.

Court documents say deputies were sent to the residence when a safety service alarm was triggered. The security company tried to call the victim, and when no one answered, called authorities.

The victim told deputies her attacker was a man she didn't know who broke into her home armed with a knife, saying he was there for sex and to rob her, according to court documents.

The victim said the man threatened her life if she contacted police.

Biological evidence recovered from the scene, and subsequent testing, led to Whitford.

The victim was 89 at the time of the crime.

The woman’s purse was taken in the incident.

Whitford was already being held on other charges. He has had multiple prior felony convictions including assault, burglary, robbery, felonious restraint and tampering with a victim or witness.

Because of Whitford's previous felony convictions, he now faces multiple life sentences if convicted in this case.