ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. — Police have identified and arrested the man they think beat and sexually assaulted a woman during a violent home invasion this past summer in the Hiddenite community of Alexander County.
On Thursday, warrants were issued for 35-year-old Julius Williams. He has been charged with felony first-degree rape, felony first-degree burglary, felony first-degree kidnapping and felony assault inflicting serious bodily injury, according to the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office.
Williams, who is a registered sex offender, ran from officers early Friday morning after a witness called police saying they spotted him near JC Park and the greenway in Newton. Authorities found him and after a short foot chase, were able to arrest him.
On July 19, deputies received a home invasion call just after 2 a.m. from a house along Millersville Road in the Hiddenite community, just south of Taylorsville.
When they got to the home, deputies spoke with the victim, a 69-year-old woman, who told them that she was asleep in her bed and was woken up by a man she didn’t know hitting her in the face and strangling her.
The woman also told deputies that she had been sexually assaulted by the intruder, who then ran out of the house.
The woman was taken to the hospital.
Investigators believe the crime was completely random. The woman lived by herself, but on the same street as other family members.
Channel 9 could see several investigators along with Sheriff Chris Bowman himself going door to door, hoping to find clues to what happened.
“We’re not used to this kind of thing happening in our county,” Bowman said. “This incident definitely occurred and we’re putting everything we got into finding the person responsible.”
Family members spoke with Channel 9 near the home.
“We just don’t understand how something like that possibly happened here,” one relative said. “How it happened to her -- we have no clue to as why anyone would be targeting her in this area.”
Investigators told Channel 9 that DNA was collected, and they’ve sent it to the state lab to be tested.
“Her biggest desire is to see this person caught -- not for revenge, but just to get them out of the community and make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else,” a relative of the victim said.
Bowman said at the time that deputies would be stepping up patrols in the area and that Crime Stoppers is offering a reward up to $1,000 for any information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information should call the tip line at 828-632-8555 or the sheriff’s office at 828-632-2911.
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