Arrest made in rape from 20 years ago
PLAQUEMINE- A man accused in a 20-year-old rape case was arrested late Monday night after DNA perfectly matched a rape kit from November of 1994.
Sheriff's deputies arrested Bernie Metrejean, 39, of St. Mary Parish on drug charges recently. Deputies fingerprinted, photographed and swabbed him for DNA as part of the booking process. When the results of the swab were entered into the criminal DNA database, it matched a rape case in Plaquemine.
"He made a statement and said 'When they arrested me in St. Mary and fingerprinted me, it didn't mean anything... When they photographed me, it didn't mean anything, but when they took that swab, I saw the lady's face,'" said Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi.
Stassi said that 'face' Metrejean referred to was the victim he's accused of raping. Detectives said the victim, who was 40 at the time, was walking to the store along LA 1 in 1994 when Metrejean, who was working as a delivery driver at the time, pulled up and asked if she needed a ride.
They said the victim agreed, but Metrejean took her to a sugar cane field down the road instead and raped her.
"She's doing fine (today)," said Captain Blair Favaron, who worked the case. "She's a very religious person, so I think that helps her a lot."
Both Favaron and Stassi are pleased the investigation came full circle to an arrest.
"It was a good feeling, it really was," Favaron said. "I've known the victim for years, and it's just a good feeling to be able to tell her I caught the individual who did this to you."
Despite the case sitting cold for 20 years, Stassi believes it should serve as hope for other victims of unsolved cases.
"Like anybody, she thought this day would never come and will have her day in court with this defendant," Stassi said.
Metrejean is charged with aggravated rape and kidnapping. Detectives are looking to see if any other unsolved rapes in the area are tied to him.