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Baton Rouge man arrested in 1981 rape after victim asked police to re-examine evidence

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BATON ROUGE -- A woman who was kidnapped at gunpoint outside Woman's Hospital in 1981 and then raped recently asked police to take another look at the evidence, and a DNA match led to an arrest.

A stain on the woman's pantyhose, still in evidence after 38 years, provided the rapist's DNA.

Donald Ray Dunn, 56, was arrested on aggravated rape and aggravated kidnapping in the case, which pre-dates the development of DNA testing in criminal cases.

The woman was attacked on Aug. 11, 1981 as she was heading to visit a friend at Woman's Hospital, which is now the site of police headquarters. It was about 2:45 a.m., according to the arrest warrant.

She'd parked her car and was walking toward the hospital when a man in an olive green Ford Maverick approached her. He had a gun, and threatened to shoot her unless she got into his car.

She pleaded with him not to take her, but he yanked her into the car. In that struggle, the rapist's gun fired, a bullet hitting his left arm. He drove away from the hospital as she begged for her life.

The attacker drove her to nearby Airway Drive and parked. He threatened to choke her if she didn't cooperate, and then raped her and forced her to perform oral sex on him, according to the warrant.

Then he made her bandage his injured arm. He drove back to the hospital and released her.

Police collected evidence from the victim and from the site of the assault on Airway. Investigators found blood on the woman's clothing that was not hers, and evidence of semen.

They worked to identify the rapist, but could not.

Recently, she asked detectives to re-check the evidence that had been gathered at the time, so they sent it back to the State Police Crime Lab. Forensics experts there made the match, which was confirmed by a new DNA swab from Dunn, according to the warrant.

Dunn appears to have lived in Baton Rouge during most of the time since the rape, court records show.

Dunn was arrested in 1992 on an aggravated rape charge and for allegedly violating a protective order, which had been sought days earlier by a partner. In that case, he pleaded guilty to second-degree battery and was given a five-year suspended sentence.

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