Fort Bragg soldier charged with kidnapping, raping teen
A soldier stationed at Fort Bragg was charged in the kidnapping and rape of a 16-year-old girl in Texas, authorities announced Tuesday.
Harris County Sheriffs told reporters during an afternoon news conference that Levi Austin Goss, 24, has been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and aggravated kidnapping in connection to a February 2013 attack in Cypress.
Chief Deputy Edison Toquica said the victim was dragged into a wooded area “by a predator” who brutally beat and raped her.
“This brave girl survived this savage attack and provided genetic evidence that has finally led to an arrest,” Toquica said. “I’d like to thank and congratulate the Child Abuse Unit for their diligent work in this case and thank them for their hard work that’s actually taken a monster off the streets and a brave victim can finally move forward knowing that this man is no longer a threat to her or anyone else in the community.”
Goss, 24, was arrested after Harris County deputies matched his DNA to forensic samples from the Army’s Criminal Investigation Laboratory, court records cited by the Houston Chronicle show.
Harris County Child Abuse Unit Lt. Jerry Philpot said the victim was walking in northwest Harris County on Feb. 5, 2013, when she was pulled into a grassy area, sexually assaulted and “left for dead” after being struck multiple times with what investigators believe was the blunt end of a hatchet.
The suspect at the time was wearing a “ninja-style black mask” and dark clothing. The victim told investigators that her attacker only left her alone when he thought she was dead, Philpot said. She later walked away and was transported to a hospital after being spotted by two witnesses.
“To this day, she still deals with lingering effects of the incident,” Philpot said.
A break in the case finally came last month, when investigators were notified that a DNA link had been established, sheriffs said. Testing revealed that the DNA belonged to a US Army soldier stationed in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Goss volunteered to submit to an interview with investigators and “provided some key information that proved beneficial to the case,” according to Harris County Sgt. Russell Gonzales.
Army officials confirmed in a statement to KPRC that Goss was being held in civilian confinement.
“He is under investigation by civilian law enforcement for an allegation that may predate his military service,” Army officials said. “We are cooperating with civilian law enforcement in this matter.”
Gonzales said the investigators never gave up hope of making an arrest.
“This is a key example of an investigator’s ability to just keep chipping away at a case, never letting it die,” Gonzales said. “ … And here we are today to put this monster beyond bars where he belongs.”