DNA leads to arrest of man in 2001 East Grand Rapids rape

Posted at 12:01 PM, Sep 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-08 12:01:04-04

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A 51-year-old man has been arrested in a 2001 rape case in East Grand Rapids.

Jody Alan Howland, 51, is currently serving time in Macomb County Jail on drug charges, according to the East Grand Rapids Public Safety Department.  Under a new state law signed in January, DNA samples taken from Howland matched to the rape case of a 23-year-old woman in February of 2001.

The law requires DNA samples to be taken at the time of arrest of any person accused of committing or attempting to commit a felony.  The Michigan State Police Forensic Lab matched Howland’s DNA to the assault using the Michigan Convicted Offender Database.  Howland’s DNA was also connected to two other sexual assaults in Texas in December of 2003 and April of 2004.

The East Grand Rapids woman was assaulted in the early morning hours of February 9, 2001 while walking home from a neighborhood bar.  The next day, Jeffrey Huggins was arrested and charged with the crime, but charges against him were dropped in March of 2001 after his DNA did not match.

We’ll have more details when they become available.

Rowland and sketch from 2001