In 1990 a young girl named Jennifer Schuett was abducted from her bedroom in Dickinson, Texas. A man carried her to his car, sexually assaulted the 8-year-old child, slit her throat and left her to die in an overgrown field. The identity of the predator who committed these horrific crimes has remained a mystery. But now, nearly 20 years later, he may have finally been found.
The fact that Jennifer survived this ordeal is amazing, and her attempt to bring closure to the case is inspiring. Jennifer has been working with a division of the FBI called the Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team (CARDT) to try and find the man who assaulted her so long ago.
Jennifer’s assailant left a few articles of clothing at the scene of the crime, but DNA testing was inconclusive at the time. There have been many technological advances since then. And members of the CARDT were able to run new tests on evidence that was locked away for many years. They found a match.
DNA samples pointed to a man named Dennis Earl Bradford. He was previously arrested for a sexual assault case in Arkansas from 1997, and found guilty of kidnapping a 35-year-old woman, sexually assaulting her and then cutting her throat. The crime was an exact match to what happened to Jennifer Schuett.
As investigators began to dig deeper, they made a startling discovery. After Jennifer was attacked she helped a sketch artist create a picture of the man who kidnapped her. That picture had a striking resemblance to Dennis Bradford’s driver’s license photo. Jennifer had also written several notes to the police about her assault. And those notes mentioned that her abductor referred to himself as Dennis.
Dennis Bradford lives in Arkansas, but in 1990 he lived in Dickinson, Texas. His home was only about a mile away from the apartment building where Jennifer was abducted. The FBI finally had a break in the case after nearly 2 decades of silence.
On Tuesday, October 13, 2009, Dennis Earl Bradford was arrested while on his way to work in Little Rock, Arkansas. Local authorities worked with an FBI agent and a detective from Dickinson to capture the suspect and book him at a nearby facility. Bradford will be charged with attempted murder, and he is expected to be extradited to face a trial in Texas. If he is found guilty, Bradford could be sentenced to life in prison.
Jennifer Schuett may finally have closure on this painful chapter in her life. Her assailant has gone free for almost 20 years and most people believed he would never be caught. But now the alleged perpetrator is behind bars. Jennifer boasts that she should not be thought of as a victim, but as victorious.
Thanks to the persistence of Jennifer Schuett, members of the CARDT and modern technology, a man who brutally attacked a young girl may finally be brought to justice. At PeopleFinders.com we’re grateful for tools that help protect us and identify known criminals. You never know what type of person may be living in your neighborhood, but our Sexual Offender Search can help you find out. Use it to learn if there are registered sex offenders near your family.
Jennifer deserves respect and admiration for her bravery and persistence. We can all breathe a sigh of relief at the thought that the man who raped and left her for dead has finally been captured. Stay safe out there, and thank you for reading the PeopleFinders blog.