OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Four years after a woman was raped on the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge, the man police believe attacked her is behind bars.
Aaron Roy McMillian, 32, is waiting extradition to Ocean Springs in the rape of a South Mississippi woman. The rape happened on Nov. 14, 2014.
It was a cold night when the victim said she was out walking the bridge. According to her report, there were not as many people out on the bridge as usual due to the cold weather. She said she was less than 50 feet from the top of the bridge on the Ocean Springs side when the suspect passed her.
The man then turned and approached her from behind, she said, pushing her to the ground and sexually assaulting her. The woman was able to get away from the suspect, running down the bridge into Ocean Springs. The victim said she drove home and told her husband, who immediately took her to Ocean Springs Hospital for an examination.
For the last four years, police have weeded through numerous leads, hoping to gather information that would help them solve this case. Last month, they got lucky.
The Mississippi state crime lab notified detectives that a DNA sample matching the one taken from the victim at the hospital had matched to a suspect.
“(McMillian) was arrested in Utah this past summer,” said Ocean Springs Police Capt. William Jackson.
According to Utah County Sheriff’s Office, McMillian was arrested in May on drug charges. A DNA sample was taken at that time, which was then entered into a national database. Six months later, the results of that DNA sample matched up with the Mississippi state crime lab.
“Our crime lab had the DNA sample from our victim here and that’s how we got a match,” said Capt. Jackson.
Police then had to determine if McMillian was on the Gulf Coast during the time of the rape.
“We were able to determine through Facebook and other social media sites that he did in fact live here in the city of Ocean Springs,” said Capt. Jackson.
Ocean Springs Police then flew to Utah, obtaining an arrest warrant on Nov. 9 that charges McMillian in the assault.
McMillian is being held at Utah County Sheriff’s Office, where he is awaiting an extradition hearing, which will determine when he will be brought back to the Coast.
Police say they never gave up searching for a suspect in the case.
“Anytime we have a situation like this where we are looking for a suspect, unknown suspect, the case is never closed, especially something horrendous like rape or any type of assault,” said Capt. Jackson.
The rape on the Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge would leave its mark on the Gulf Coast. With many people scared to walk the bridge at night, a group of women banded together to push for change. Calling themselves Gulf Coast Women Against Violence Everywhere, or WAVE, the group offered support to the victim and spent a year collecting donations for security cameras to be placed on the bridge.