Crime

Polk County deputies arrest suspect in 43-year-old child sex abuse case

Detectives have arrested a suspect in a child sex abuse case that dates back more than 40 years.

According to a release from the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the suspect was arrested Friday on charges of capital rape and forcible carnal knowledge, which are statutes from 1969.

Detectives said the suspect, who has not been identified yet, sexually battered his stepdaughter for a four-year period, between 1969 and 1973, starting when the girl was 11.

The girl became pregnant as a result of the sexual abuse when she was 15 years old and gave birth to a baby who died the following day, detectives said. The abuse stopped after the birth of the baby.

Detectives said the suspect subsequently divorced the victim's mother, but that the sexual abuse had nothing to do with the end of the marriage.

The woman had not spoken to the suspect in 35 years until she called him to talk about the abuse, the report said. Detectives said the suspect confessed to abusing her.

Neither the woman nor the suspect live in Polk County. The woman traveled from Georgia to report the crimes, and detectives said she wants to tell her story to the media. She said she hopes that by telling her story, she can encourage other victims to come forward regardless of how much time has passed since they were abused.

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