Ancestry website, DNA led to suspect 7 years after rape reported in western South Dakota
BELLE FOURCHE, S.D. - An ancestry website and DNA sample led to the Jan. 2 arrest of a suspect in a 2012 rape case in Belle Fourche, according to the town's police chief.
Shane Boice, 32, of Nisland, was indicted Jan. 8 in the Butte County courthouse on one count of second-degree rape and two counts of first-degree burglary, court records show. One of the burglary charges is in the alternate, which means Boice can only be found guilty of one of the charges.
Belle Fourche Police Chief Marlyn Pomrenke said the department responded to the reported rape on April 12, 2012, and DNA was collected at the scene. He said the Department of Criminal Investigations later stepped in to help.
"They had evidence at the scene, but if the suspect was never arrested for anything that required DNA, then there was nothing in the system," Pomrenke said.
Investigators eventually sent the DNA sample to the FBI and found one of Boice's relatives on an ancestry website who's DNA was a similar match to the suspect's DNA, Pomrenke said. They then were able to look at the person's relatives and narrow down Boice as the suspect.
Pomrenke said he's not sure when the DNA sample was sent to the FBI or which ancestry website was used.
Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg said he couldn't provide any more details about the case. A spokesman for the FBI in Minnesota, which oversees South Dakota, said he had no information on the case and suggested reaching out to the FBI lab in Quantico, Va.
The use of ancestry websites to identify criminal suspects came to national attention when the so-called Golden State Killer was arrested last year with the help of them decades after going on a rape and murder spree in California.
The arrest also sparked a conversation on privacy and ethics regarding DNA and ancestry websites.
There are few details about the allegations against Boice because the affidavit in support of his arrest is sealed.
If he is convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison for the rape charge and 25 years for the burglary charge.
Boice, who is out of jail after posting a $100,000 cash/surety bond, is set to return to court for his initial appearance Jan. 18, court records show.