It took 12 years for a rape kit taken for a February 2011 incident at Lake Ellsworth to return. Now the man accused of committing the crime is out on $50,000 bond.
Austin Nate Lankister, 30, of Valliant, made his initial appearance Monday in Comanche County District Court where he was charged with a felony count of first-degree rape by force or fear, records indicate. The crime is punishable by between five years to life in prison.
The arrest warrant for Lankister was issued June 8.
The charges followed an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) investigation at the request of the Lawton Police Department.
The incident is alleged to have happened Feb. 21, 2011, while the victim was assaulted and became unconscious in the wooded area off Jake Dunn Road at Lake Ellsworth, according to the warrant affidavit. She was found with her pants pulled down. She was taken to Comanche County Memorial Hospital and a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination was conducted and rape kit collected.
The contents of the rape kit were tested and DNA matching Lankister returned from the vaginal swabs on Feb. 2, 2022, the affidavit states. Lankister was identified through the Combined DNA Index System.
The woman told investigators she’d been dating Lankister at the time of the incident. She said she’d been drinking beer that night and when she stopped Lankister from kissing her, he propped her against a truck, according to the affidavit. When she was awakened, she was bleeding from the face.
It took until Feb. 27 for a search warrant to be obtained for a DNA sample from Lankister. He told the investigators he’d never been alone with the woman and hadn’t had sex with her there, the affidavit states. He said he didn’t know how his DNA was found on the woman, Diaz stated.
As part of Lankister’s bond conditions, he is to have no contact with the woman. He returns to court at 3 p.m. Aug. 29 for his preliminary hearing conference, records indicate.