Bond is set at $1-million for a former Columbia man charged with the horrific 1984 rape and attempted murder of a woman who was kidnapped on Wilkes Boulevard while walking to work.
59-year-old James Wilson was captured at his North Carolina home early Thursday morning by Columba Police and North Carolina authorities. Columbia Police announced the arrest in a Thursday afternoon press conference at city hall. Columbia Police Department (CPD) assistant chief Jeremiah Hunter tells 939 the Eagle that Wilson graduated from Rock Bridge high school, and that he lived in Columbia in 1984.
The Columbia Police Department’s probable cause statement indicates Wilson and the victim did not know each other. Court documents describe them as “complete strangers.”
CPD spokeswoman Toni Messina tells reporters that Columbia Police officers worked on the case for years and pursued every available lead. Messina says the case was assigned to CPD detective Renee Wilbarger in March 2020.
“Through advancements in DNA technology, the wide range of DNA databases and the help of partner agencies, Detective Wilbarger identified James Frederick Wilson, 59, as a potential suspect,” Messina says.
Wilson is charged with forcible rape and first degree assault. Columbia Police chief Geoff Jones believes there could be additional victims. CPD has established a tip line for this investigation. Anyone with information about James Frederick Wilson and this case can call (573) 874-7400.
“But we don’t know yet how expansive his reign of terror was. We do know that people who commit these types of crimes often don’t stop with one,” Chief Jones tells reporters.
Wilson was captured early Thursday morning at his North Carolina home by Columbia Police officers and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NCSBI).
Graphic court documents say the 1984 victim was abducted near Wilkes and Providence and was driven to northeast Columbia’s Wellington drive, where she was raped twice. Court documents say Wilson then used his pocket knife to slash the victim’s throat, causing major damage to her trachea and vocal cords. She suffered multiple lacerations and her injuries “required surgical repair,” according to court documents.
During Thursday’s press conference, 939 the Eagle News asked CPD assistant chief Jeremiah Hunter when Wilson lived in Columbia, and where he went to school.
“I can tell you he attended school here. After graduating high school, he had some odd jobs here as well. I believe he moved away from Columbia around 1985 (or) 1986,” Hunter says.
939 the Eagle followed-up with Mr. Hunter on Friday morning. He confirms the suspect attended Rock Bridge high school.
The victim provided detailed information to CPD detectives in 1984, describing the suspect as a white male 18 to 19 years old, weighing 190 to 200 pounds with sandy blond hair. Court documents say the victim told detectives the suspect drove a dark green two-door muscle style car. The court documents say Columbia Police stopped James Wilson in 1985, while he was driving a green 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass. The vehicle, which was registered to Wilson, was stopped by the CPD officer because it matched the suspect’s description in this case, according to CPD’s probable cause statement. The court documents do not indicate what happened after that, but Wilson was not arrested during the traffic stop.
Keep your radio tuned to 939 the Eagle for updated information on this case.