Pressly assaulted, parents confirm | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 1, 2008

Pressly assaulted, parents confirm

Posted By on Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 9:09 AM

Anne Pressly's parents confirmed in an interview today with NBCs Matt Lauer (link takes you to a page with a news account and a link to the 8-minute interview) that the former KATV anchor was sexually assaulted. Her mother also said her daughter broke her hand fighting her attacker.

Also today: The affidavit submitted by LR police for the capital murder warrant naming Curtis Vance in the slaying of KATV anchor Pressly was released today. It doesn't contain a great deal beyond what was reported last week.

The affidavit by Detective Tommy Hudson reports that Pressly was found in her bedroom by her mother Oct 20. She was suffering from "multiple blunt force injuries." Pressly was taken to St. Vincent Infirmary, where she died five days later, and the home was processed for evidence.

"DNA evidence was collected from evidence gathered at the scene and was sbumitted to the Arkansas State Crime Lab."

The affidavit notes, "During the course of the investigation, it was determined that several items belonging to Ms. Pressly were taken from her residence during this attack.

"Curtis Lavelle Vance was developed as a suspect in this case. Detectives with LRPD Homicide made contact with Mr. Vance at his home in Marianna, AR. Mr. Vance denied being in Little Rock when Ms. Pressly was attacked and consented to DNA swabs. These swabs were submitted to the Arkansas State Crime Lab on [Wednesday] Nov. 26, 2008 where it was confirmed with all scientific certainty that Mr. Vance is the DNA contributor of the suspect in Ms. Pressly's murder."

Early last week, we now know that the state Crime Lab found a DNA match between evidence collected in the April rape of a Marianna teacher and Pressly's attack. Somehow, Marianna developed Vance as a suspect in its rape, though he had no prior felony record, even for burglary. Marianna notified LRPD that he was being viewed as a suspect in the case for which LR had matching evidence. That's why an LR detective questioned Vance Tuesday and requested the DNA sample.

Judge Lee Munson authorized the arrest warrant and Vance was taken into custody in Little Rock late Nov. 26. He was ordered held without bond at a brief hearing Friday at the County Jail.

PS for the conspiracy theorists: LR Lt. Terry Hastings repeats to me this morning that Vance is the only suspect in this case.

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: 1) What prompted Marianna police to identify Vance, who had no previous record, as a suspect in their rape case, and thus the LR case?  2) Is Vance now being considered in other unsolved sexual assaults and, if so, how many? 3) Why did the LRPD withhold information about a sexual assault in the Pressly case (though it was widely rumored and mentioned here days ago)?

As to Question 3, Lt. Hastings said: "We're not commentingon any of that. We're not inertested in making the news stories for everone. We're interested in convicting this guy of murder, that's why we're not confirming any details." Some women I've spoken with believe there's a public safety issue in this and the public would be better served by knowing a rapist was on the loose. "If we thought there was an issue there of public safety we would have released informtion relating to that," Hastings said. But he added, "I'd say that's not a valid argument."

UPDATE RE QUESTION 1: A careful reader directs me to a Memphis news account in which Marianna police say Vance had become a burglary suspect because he'd been spotted loitering around homes that had been burglarized. When police asked about burglary suspects, Marianna police mentioned Vance.


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