Thirty-one years ago a Coral Springs woman awoke to a ski-masked man standing over her bed. He put a gloved hand over her mouth to prevent her from screaming, told her he had a gun and raped her.
The attacker escaped — for three long decades.
But he evidently did not change his predatory ways, investigators discovered.
Evidence left behind at the Coral Springs crime scene on Oct. 22, 1987 led investigators this year to a 60-year-old man with a Minnesota conviction for “criminal sexual conduct” and burglary — a crime that happened just two months after the South Florida assault and was carried out in a nearly identical fashion.
Frank Montana is now behind bars at the Broward Main Jail thanks to newly conducted DNA testing of old evidence.
The similarities between the two crimes were of note. In both instances the attacker broke in while his victims slept. He claimed to have a gun and before raping the women, he clasped his hands around their throats and squeezed until they could not breathe, according to an affidavit to arrest.
“The statements provided by the female victim in Minneapolis, Minnesota and [the Coral Springs woman’s] sworn statement establish the defendant’s pattern of behavior and predatory nature,” an arrest warrant said.
For the Minnesota rape, committed on Dec. 15, 1987, Montana was sentenced to five years in prison.
This week Montana was extradited to South Florida to answer to the local allegations.
Montana went before a Broward County judge on Thursday, who ordered that he be jailed without bond on two counts of sexual battery with a weapon.
When the 27-year-old Coral Springs woman was raped she was wearing a tampon. Tests conducted on it in the Broward Sheriff’s crime lab in 1987 showed that semen was present, the warrant said
But “DNA was not tested in 1987,” according to the warrant. “At that time, no further investigative leads or suspect information was developed and the case was subsequently closed.”
In March of this year, the “cold case” was reopened and DNA tests were performed.
The tampon that had been in evidence for 31 years yielded a DNA profile. According to the warrant, it was a match with a man named Frank Cruz — one of nine aliases used by Montana.
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