ROCK HILL Two months after a former Rock Hill mayoral candidate allegedly broke into a Miami womans home and raped her at knifepoint, Florida investigators say, he raped another woman in the same neighborhood.
York County drug agents arrested 49-year-old Baxter Tisdale Aug. 14 at his Walnut Street home after Miami-Dade police notified them that his DNA matched evidence connected to the first rape, which officials had been unable to solve for more than two decades.
Tisdale was charged in 2009 with the second rape, but was released after two years in custody when the victim declined to testify.
Florida court documents and interviews with Miami detectives handling both assaults which date to 1986 show similarities between the two cases. According to court affidavits and investigators:
• On Feb. 18, 1986, Tisdale, then 21, broke into a womans home and raped her while her infant son slept in the same bedroom. During the assault, he covered the 21-year-old womans eyes and placed a knife to her throat, then took money from her purse.
• On April 30, 1986, Tisdale entered a 23-year-old womans home while her three children ranging in age from 8 months to 5 years were sleeping in the room with her. Tisdale placed a knife to her neck and threatened to kill her if she screamed. He then slapped her and raped her.
• During the April assault, when the victims 8-month-old son began crying, Tisdale punched the child as he continued assaulting his mother.
DNA evidence was collected from the second rape, Det. Bill Nadramia of the Miami-Dade Police Departments sex crimes bureau said, but it remained untouched in the police departments crime lab.
For two decades, both rapes went unsolved.
It wasnt until Miami police formed a cold case squad in 2006 and implemented DNA testing that they were able to link Tisdale to both rapes, Nadramia said.
They first reopened the April case, placing DNA swabs from it into the FBIs Combined DNA Index System, Nadramia said, and in March 2009, crime lab officials reported a positive match with Tisdale.
Tisdale was in the database, Nadramia said, because he had several drug convictions and other felony charges in the Miami area.
Police spoke with the victim and allowed her to view a photograph of Tisdale, Nadramia said, and she identified him as someone she knew from her neighborhood.
Authorities arrested Tisdale in May 2009, charging him with sexual battery and burglary in the April 1986 assault. Tisdale was extradited from Rock Hill to Miami, Nadramia said.
Tisdale remained in a Miami jail for almost two years until the case against him was dismissed, Nadramia said, when the victim didnt follow through with the state attorneys office for prosecution.
A month after his release, Tisdale sued the Miami-Dade Police Department, two prosecutors, Miami-Dade County and Nadramia, whom he accused of coercing the victim into identifying him in a photo lineup.
Tisdales lawsuit demanded $50 million in punitive damages and $5 million for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, mental anguish and defamation. He also sought $44,100 for lost wages.
The suit was dismissed in June 2011 when Tisdale failed to serve the complaint in compliance with federal regulations.
Neither Nadramia nor Det. Javier Baez, Miami-Dade Police Departments public information officer, would comment on the lawsuit.
After his release from the Miami jail in 2011, Tisdale returned to live in Rock Hill until Miamis cold case squad reopened the Feb. 18, 1986, case file and received another DNA hit on Tisdale, said Miami-Dade Det. Alberto Morciego.
Morciego re-established contact with the victim from the February 1986 assault, told her about the DNA match and showed her Tisdales photo. She told police she recognized Tisdale from when she lived in the neighborhood where she was assaulted.
Miami police alerted York County drug agents and the U.S. Marshals about the DNA match.
Last week, Tisdale waived extradition while in custody at the York County Detention Center, indicating his intention to contest the arrest warrants that accused him in the February 1986 rape. He was taken to Miami Tuesday morning.
The victim has fully cooperated with police, Morciego said.
The Aug. 6 arrest warrant charges Tisdale, who initially moved to Rock Hill from Miami in the early 1990s, with armed sexual battery, burglary and armed robbery.
Tisdale ran for the Rock Hill City Council in 1999, receiving nine votes. Two years later, he unsuccessfully ran for Rock Hill mayor.
His criminal history in York County includes convictions for several misdemeanors, including stealing electricity from the city of Rock Hill, driving under suspension and petty larceny.
Jonathan McFadden 803-329-4082
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less