DNA from recent rape leads to 30-year sentence for 1999 case

Mugshot of Frank Thatcher | photo compilation by WHSV
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IRONTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man has been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison for the 1999 kidnapping and rape of a 14-year-old girl after DNA evidence from a rape case last year connected him to the old case.

Fifty-five-year-old Frank Thacker, of South Point, was sentenced after the victim gave a statement Thursday in Lawrence County court in Ironton, near the West Virginia state line.

The new sentence is added to the 27-year sentence Thacker received in a rape and kidnapping case last year. DNA in that case matched the unsolved 1999 case from South Point.

Investigators say on Dec. 22, 1999, Thacker forcibly kidnapped a 14-year-old girl near the Lawrence County Airpark and took her to another location and raped her. After the abduction and rape, Thacker released the victim. The victim then reported the sexual assault to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.

“This is one of the most heinous kidnapping and rapes that I’ve prosecuted since I’ve been at the prosecutor’s office,” Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson said.

Court officials say Thacker received the maximum sentence based on the statute when the crime happened in 1999.

The Huntington Herald-Dispatch reports a defense lawyer sought leniency, noting Thacker uses a wheelchair and is in poor health. He indicated he will appeal.

A message seeking comment was left Friday for the attorney.