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DNA links man to teen sexual assault case, investigators say

Crime Watch

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Clay J. Heline | Bonneville County Jail

IDAHO FALLS — An Idaho Falls man was arrested Monday after he allegedly sexually assaulted a teenage girl.

Clay J. Heline, 27, is charged with felony lewd conduct with a child under 16 for an incident that occurred with a 14-year-old victim when she was traveling in a vehicle with Heline in Bonneville County, according to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com.

The information that resulted in the arrest of Heline came from a family member as the victim was reportedly too shaken and scared from the alleged sexual assault to speak with investigators.

Court documents describe how on April 9, Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies were called to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center to take a report of a sexual assault. Deputies learned Heline had been giving the victim rides around town. While traveling in rural Bonneville County toward Bone, the victim apparently fell asleep.

“When she woke up, her pants were off and Clay instructed her to put her pants on,” according to the probable cause. “After Clay told (the victim) to put her pants back on, she felt like something had happened to her.”

She later indicated to a family member that she believed she had been raped.

Investigators contacted Heline, who said he was aware of the case. Detectives wrote in the probable cause that Heline said people told him about the allegations and were using them as blackmail to get money out of him. Heline claimed to have no intentions to sexually assault the victim. Heline reportedly never showed up for an interview and eventually stopped responding to calls from detectives.

A few weeks later, the victim’s family contacted deputies and said they feared the 14-year-old might be pregnant. The pregnancy test came back negative, but the victim’s family told investigators she was being treated for a sexually transmitted disease, according to court documents.

Idaho State Police lab results came back and showed methamphetamine as well as THC in the victim’s system. The results also show male DNA was recovered from a rape kit that had been administered at EIRMC.

Deputies were initially unable to find Heline, but learned he would be at the Bonneville County Courthouse on Aug. 7 for an unrelated grand theft and drug case. Investigators obtained a warrant to collect swabs of Heline’s DNA and did so at the courthouse.

On Nov. 24, the Sheriff’s Office got a call from the ISP lab who said the DNA collected on the victim’s sexual assault exam matched the DNA collected from Heline’s DNA swabs, according to court documents.

A multi-state arrest warrant was issued for Heline. According to additional court documents, around 12:40 Monday, the Idaho Falls Police Department found Heline, who allegedly gave multiple false names and birthdates.

Although Heline is charged with a crime, it does not necessarily mean he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty. If convicted of felony lewd conduct, a judge could order Heline to spend up to life in prison.The lewd conduct charge is not the first time Heline has been accused of a sex crime. In 2011, Bonneville County prosecutors charged Heline with rape where the victim is overcome by force. However, the charge was ultimately dropped.

Heline remains held in the Bonneville County Jail on $75,000 bail.

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