crime & courts

Affidavit details of 2012 rape, DNA evidence in latest Messel charges


Daniel Messel leaves the Brown County courthouse after being convicted of the murder of Hannah Wilson and being found a habitual offender. Recently, he was charged with the 2012 rape of another IU student. Michael Williams Buy Photos

Daniel Messel, the man convicted of murdering IU student Hannah Wilson, was charged Friday with the 2012 rape of another IU student after DNA evidence from under her fingernails was matched to Messel.

Messel, 51, allegedly forced his penis into the law student’s mouth after abducting and driving her to a secluded parking lot in the woods Sept. 1, 2012.

According to the probable cause affidavit, she said she fought him off, and he then punched her in the face so hard it “knocked the contact out of her eye and she was spitting blood.”

Agitated, he returned to the car and drove away with the woman’s purse, iPhone and credit cards, according to the affidavit. The 22-year-old walked to a nearby home for help, and they called the police.

The scrapings from under the woman’s fingernails were found during a rape kit examination, though no semen or blood was found.

The victim’s underwear was recovered at the IU Research and Teaching Preserve later the same day, according to the affidavit.

There was not enough DNA to compare the sample to the FBI database in 2012, and the woman could not remember what the man or his car looked like.

In August, the woman read an account from another woman who testified at Messel’s trial for the murder of Wilson.

The woman from the September 2012 case described the other 
woman’s trial testimony as “eerily similar” to her own assault and contacted the IU Police Department to say she believed Messel might have been her attacker.

Detective Garth Vanleeuwen asked Indiana State Police to compare the DNA sample from the woman to Messel’s. The samples matched.

Vanleeuwen visited Messel in the Indiana State Prison where he is serving an 80-year sentence for Wilson’s murder, but Messel refused to speak to him about these charges.

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