On August 20, 1996, about 3:15 p.m., the Charles County Sheriff’s Office responded to a rape that had just occurred. The investigation revealed a 12-year-old girl had been walking behind Benjamin Stoddert Middle School located at 2040 St. Thomas Drive in Waldorf when she was accosted at knifepoint by the suspect. The suspect forced her into the woods and raped her. Before fleeing, the suspect tied the victim’s hands and feet. She eventually managed to free herself and sought help at a nearby residence.

The suspect was described as a medium-complexioned black male with short hair. He was about six feet tall and was wearing a black-and-white striped shirt.


Advances in DNA technology allow our Forensic Science Unit (FSU) to compare evidence collected in cold cases to the DNA samples of certain arrested and convicted offenders stored in state and national databases. In 2009, FSU submitted evidence from this case and identified a suspect, James Clinton Cole, 52, of no fixed address.

Detectives began re-examining the case. In June 2009, soon after the DNA match was discovered, Cole was indicted by a Charles County Grand Jury on charges of rape and other sex offenses. He was ultimately convicted and is currently serving two life sentences for his crimes.