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Ogden police are moving forward with a 2008 child rape case after a rape evidence kit long forgotten at the back of a storage refrigerator was discovered last fall by a Primary Children's Hospital nurse and turned over to investigators.
After the state crime lab processed semen from the Code R kit, which allegedly ties Troy Bradley Clark to the crimes, Ogden police reopened the case and reinterviewed the alleged victim.
She told a detective that Clark described by police as a friend of the family raped her at least 20 times while she was under age 14, and another four times while she was 14 years old.
Clark, now 46, was charged in February in 2nd District Court with two counts of first-degree felony rape of a child and two counts of third-degree felony unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
A $100,000 arrest warrant was issued for Clark, who was arrested earlier this week near Kingman, Ariz.
He was booked into the Weber County jail on Friday, and an initial court appearance was set for Monday.
Ogden police Lt. Danielle Croyle said Thursday that it was probably "a blessing in disguise" that the Code R kit had remained lost all these years.
The nurse, who is employed by Primary Children's Hospital's Safe and Healthy Families program, notified police in October that she found the kit, which she recognized as being from a case she had handled in 2008, at the back of a refrigerator where evidence is stored, according to charging documents.
"It was probably our responsibility to pick [the Code R kit] up," Croyle said, "but it never happened."
She noted that the evidence might have been destroyed had it been picked up and retained by the police department.
Croyle said that case quickly came to a standstill and was actually classified as "closed" by the police department after prosecutors screened the evidence and found there was not enough evidence to file charges.
The last alleged sexual episode between Clark and the girl occurred in July 2008, when the girl's mother returned home early from work and found her daughter in bed with the man, according to charging documents.
The girl underwent a forensic examination, but was reluctant to cooperate with police "to the point that we weren't sure what had taken place," explained Croyle, who added that the detective originally assigned to the case is no longer with the Ogden police department.
But when Detective Mark Ramsey received the newly discovered rape kit and recontacted the alleged victim, Croyle said, she thanked him for reaching out and was "able to disclose all that had happened to her."
Police have learned that, in 2008, Clark was a registered sex offender in Missouri and Arkansas, according to charging documents.
Primary Children's Hospital spokeswoman Bonnie Midget said Thursday that the nurse who located the misplaced Code R kit is employed as part of the hospital's Safe and Healthy Families program, and that the examination of the alleged victim likely occurred at one of Utah's 10 Children's Justice Centers, which provide a child-friendly atmosphere during abuse investigations.
"When a child is brought to Safe and Healthy Families with evidence of sexual abuse, our staff works closely with law enforcement to determine the cause of injury and to collect any necessary evidence for them," Midget said in a written statement.
"Once our medical staff has completed the examination, the investigating police agency is contacted to pick up the kit," Midget added. "We are working with law enforcement to determine why a kit would not be not picked up from the Children's Justice Center."
The subject of unprocessed Code R kits caught a lot of news media attention across the country in 2014. Utah was no exception.
Julie Valentine, a Brigham Young University researcher and professor of nursing, found that 1,001 sexual assaults were reported in Salt Lake City from 2003 and 2011. But 788 rape kits about 79 percent had not been processed.
Former Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank has said there were a number of reasons for the unprocessed kits, including funding and slow processing times at the state crime lab.
Utah lawmakers began to take heed of the success in Detroit's program to process old kits that has led to arrests and convictions.
In June 2014, the Utah Legislature's Criminal Justice Interim Committee came up with $750,000 to process backlogged forensic kits across the state.
The Utah Department of Public Safety, the Utah Prosecution Council and others continue to work toward a streamlined system to analyze all forensic rape kits.
Tribune reporter Christopher Smart contributed to this story.