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Man charged with violently raping woman in park being held on $250,000 bond

Crime Watch

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Chet K. Neilson | Madison County Jail

DRIGGS — A man accused of violently raping a woman two years ago in a Victor park appeared for his first court hearing Friday morning and is being held on $250,000 bond.

Chet K. Neilson, 31, is charged with felony rape, felony battery and a felony enhancement of infliction of great bodily injury. The Fremont County man is accused of attacking a 26-year-old woman after she attended Music on Main on Aug. 4, 2017. The victim returned to the park to retrieve her bicycle when Teton County Sheriff Tony Liford says she was attacked from behind, forced to the ground and raped.

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Detective Sgt. Andrew Foster of the Teton County Sheriff’s Office led the two-year investigation, and earlier this month, he received a lead pointing to Neilson. Details on that lead are not available.

With the help of Idaho State Police and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, Foster obtained a discarded DNA sample from the suspect.

The Idaho State Police Forensic Laboratory confirmed Thursday that the DNA profile from Neilson matched that of a DNA sample obtained following the rape.

A criminal complaint filed by Teton County Prosecuting Attorney Billie Siddoway alleges the victim resisted the rape but was overcome by force or violence. The complaint also alleges that Neilson inflicted great bodily injury to the victim.

Felony rape carries a potential penalty of life in prison and a fine up to $50,000. A felony battery charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison with a fine up to $50,000.

Neilson does not have a criminal history other than minor infractions, according to Idaho court records. He is being held in the Madison County Jail, where all Teton County inmates are housed. Neilson is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 4.

Anyone with additional information about this case is asked to contact the Teton County Sheriff’s Office at (208) 354-2323.