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Thomas Maupin, 67, pleaded guilty last week to rape charges after dentures bearing his name and DNA were left at a crime scene in 2001. (Photo: Courtesy of the Shelby County District Attorney)

Dentures left behind at the scene of a rape, imprinted with the rapist’s name and containing traces of his DNA, have led to the conviction of a 67-year-old man, 16 years after the crime took place.

Thomas Maupin pleaded guilty before a Tennessee judge after a partial DNA profile retrieved from the dentures was found to be consistent with his profile, authorities announced last week.

In addition to DNA evidence, the dentures also bore an imprint of Maupin’s name. The dentures were made for Maupin while he was serving a 40-year prison sentence for the 1988 murder of a 6-year-old girl in Spokane, Washington. After serving 12 years, Maupin had his murder conviction overturned on appeal, and moved to Memphis, Tennessee, according to the Shelby County District Attorney.

The rape took place on Aug. 19, 2001—the 31-year-old female victim was out walking when Maupin approached her in his car, then exited the vehicle and walked toward her. He then forced her into an alley, stabbed her under the chin with a metal object, forced her to perform oral sex and then sexually assaulted her with the object. The victim was stabbed “with such force that [the metal object] struck the roof of her mouth,” authorities said.

The sexual assault evidence kit collected in the case remained untested for over a decade due to a backlog, but was finally tested in July 2016 by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, yielding the DNA match. Following his guilty plea, Maupin was sentenced to eight years in prison. Authorities did not say in their announcement why Maupin was not identified earlier by the name on the dentures.

Memphis had a sexual assault kit backlog of over 12,000 kits when the backlog was inventoried in December 2013, according to city officials. By July 2016, 6,578 had been tested, 2,976 were awaiting analysis and 2,820 remained untested. Memphis authorities publish monthly reports on the status of the city’s sexual assault kit backlog.

According to their most recent report, backlog testing has resulted in the opening of 2195 investigations, 1577 of which have been since been closed and 234 of which have led to a request for indictment.

In May 2017, backlog testing connected an unidentified Memphis rape suspect to rapes and murders in other states, leading authorities to search for a possible serial killer, according to WREG.

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