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Man sentenced to 30 years for rape of woman in 1994

Man sentenced to 30 years for 1994 cold case

ROCKPORT, Ind. (WISH) — A North Carolina man faces 30 years in prison after Indiana State Police solved a cold case involving a rape in 1994.

Robert Daniel Shelton, 60, of Hickory, North Carolina, previously pleaded guilty to rape after being arrested in 2023. The incident happened on Dec. 5, 1994.

Police say Shelton kidnapped a 19-year-old woman in Owensboro, Kentucky, and forced her to drive to Spencer County, Indiana.

A news release issued Wednesday from Indiana State Police said, “Once in Spencer County, the victim was sexually assaulted by an unknown assailant. The victim was then ordered to lie on the rear floorboard of her vehicle while the assailant drove back to Kentucky, parked the car, and fled.  At the time, Indiana State Police and the Owensboro Police Department worked on the investigation jointly, but no suspect was ever identified.”

In 2023, DNA helped identify Shelton as the suspect in the case. He was arrested at his home in March 2023.

Police departments in Owensboro, Kentucky, and Brookford, North Carolina, worked with Indiana State Police on the case.

Spencer County sits on the Ohio River in southern Indiana about a 45-minute drive east of Evansville.


“This case exemplifies the proficient investigative abilities of both law enforcement agencies. Without their diligent efforts in collecting DNA evidence, this perpetrator would have never been held accountable for his crime. The courageous victim in this matter finally sees justice after three decades of waiting.”

Spencer County Prosecutor Megan Bennet