North Carolina

Man in prison for kidnapping woman now tied to two unsolved 1990 rapes, NC cops say

Investigators in North Carolina were unable to solve the cases of two women in 1990 who said they were raped four months apart by a man who kidnapped them at gunpoint — until now.

Police in Fayetteville charged 60-year-old Timothy Keller on Friday with first degree rape, first degree sex offense, first degree kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon in connection with an unsolved assault from 29 years ago.

“The case was investigated in 1990, but went unsolved,” Fayetteville Police Department said in a release on Facebook. “The previous arrest of Timothy Keller prompted a review of several case files from that time period, which led to the reopening of this case and charges being drawn.”

Keller already faces the same set of charges for another unsolved case police tied him to earlier this year.

He’s currently serving a 20-year-sentence in Florida for a 2015 carjacking and armed robbery in a Walmart parking lot, the Panama City News Herald reported.

But according to police in North Carolina, his crimes started long before that.

On Jan. 5, 1990, Keller allegedly approached a woman in Fayetteville while she was walking to her car in a shopping center.

He then kidnapped her at gunpoint, police said, before driving her to the back of the center and raping her.

Roughly four months later, on April 25, 1990, they said he did it again.

This time, police said he kidnapped a woman at gunpoint while she was at an ATM, drove her to an isolated location and raped her.

Both cases went unsolved for 29 years.

Then, the Fayetteville Police Department’s Cold Case Sexual Assault Unit and the Hope Mills Police Department opted to reopen one of them.

Investigators sent the rape kit from the April 25, 1990 case for DNA testing, which reportedly led them to Keller.

The breakthrough prompted them to open other unsolved cases from the same time period — including the one from Jan. 5 that same year, police said.

Florida court records show Keller was sentenced to 20 years in prison June 2016 for armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping and tampering with a witness.

According to WJHG, Keller robbed a woman at gunpoint in a Walmart parking lot in the middle of the day as she put groceries in her car.

He then forced her to drive him to a bank where she withdrew more money before taking him back to Walmart, the media outlet reported.

Police in Fayetteville said Keller remains in prison in Florida while he awaits extradition to North Carolina.

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.