NewsCovering Kentucky


Detectives crack 1978 rape case in Boone County

Posted at 9:22 AM, Nov 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-15 20:42:36-05

Fingerprints cracked a 1978 cold case and now authorities have arrested a 77-year-old man in the case.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Michael Dean Tate, 77, on charges stemming from a sexual assault in Park Hills, Ky. during the early morning hours of Oct. 1, 1978.

Police say a young woman escaped after an abduction in the early morning hours that date.

The victim told police a man grabbed her by the throat from behind as she exited her car shortly after 2am. She said the man threatened to kill her if she continued to struggle or make noise. The man shut the victim's car door and forced her into his car before driving to St. Joseph's Lane in Park Hills where the victim reported being raped and forced to perform other sex acts against her will for about the next two hours.

During the assault, the victim said her assailant bragged about having killed other women. She said she begged for her life and was eventually released alive. The victim then went to police.

Detectives in Boone County began an investigation into the unsolved Park Hills' rape and kidnapping case in 2017 after noticing similarities to an unsolved homicide in Boone County. They discovered that Park Hills Police collected fingerprints from the car door closed by the assailant, but at the time, computerized fingerprint databases did not exist.

After entering the fingerprints into a database, detectives found a match to Tate.

During a lengthy interview, Tate admitted to having raped a woman in Kentucky that he'd grabbed from behind as she exited her car in a garage. Though he wasn't sure of the exact date, Tate told detectives it "could have been 1978."

He also admitted to other sexual assaults.

Tate will be extradited to Kentucky.