1986 Rape and Murder of Child Solved Through DNA


Nov. 24, 1986

“Katherine Rhodes, the mother of 7-year-old April Marie Rhodes, hears a scream at approximately 4 a.m. She later told North Las Vegas police that she thought the scream came from other people in the apartment complex where she lived with her daughter and 11-year-old son and went back to sleep. Rhodes later discovers her daughter is missing. Police begin a door-to-door search of the neighborhood. Apartment manager Cornelia Brewer finds April Rhodes’s body lying in a puddle of blood inside a storage room. She had been sexually assaulted.

My notes: This is one of those tragedies where human selfishness played a huge role in the death of a child. The human ego-self wakes up to those screams and says, “it’s not my child, so it’s not my problem.” Some people might think, how can it be selfish to just want to go back to sleep? Selfishness dismisses someone in distress because they are not related, or because they are unknown to the person.

This woman could have prevented her daughter’s death by investigating the cause, and calling police about hearing screams at 4 a.m.

July 6, 1990
Jasper Everett Goddard, living in Republic, is sentenced to five years in prison after he pleads guilty to sodomy of an 8-year-old girl. Goddard is required to register as a sex offender in the state of Missouri.

August 1991
A Missouri law takes effect requiring that all convicted sex offenders give DNA samples.

Oct. 4, 2012

Goddard gives a DNA sample to the Greene County sex offender registrar. The DNA submitted to the national DNA indexing system CODIS in 2009 is matched for the first time. The Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab checks Goddard’s DNA a second time against DNA collected from April Rhodes’ body.

April Marie Rhodes

April Marie Rhodes

June 7, 2013
Detective Allen Antoniewicz of the North Las Vegas Police Department files an affidavit against Goddard in the slaying of Rhodes.

June 17, 2013
The Clark County District Attorney’s Office seeks four criminal charges against Goddard.

June 26, 2013
Ozark police officer stops Goddard and learns he is wanted by police in North Las Vegas.

July 1, 2013
Goddard refuses to waive extradition, and Associate Christian County Circuit Judge John S. Waters sets bail at $4 million, according to records at the Christian County Jail in Ozark.

Goddard on Monday refused to waive extradition, and Associate Christian County Circuit Judge John S. Waters set bail at $4 million cash, according to records at the Christian County Jail in Ozark.

Goddard had been sought after he was linked to Rhodes’ slaying through DNA evidence collected in October by a sex offender registry official in Greene County, according to a North Las Vegas police affidavit.

North Las Vegas Police Department Public Information Officer Tim Bedwell explained that detectives in Nevada identified Goddard as a potential suspect after examining his DNA.

“Because he’s a registered sex offender in Missouri, he’s required to give a DNA sample every year. We were able to get a sample of DNA that was taken from April’s body back in ’86, and that DNA got entered into the database last year,” Bedwell said. “We got a CODIS hit on it, and that is what first linked him to the homicide.”

The DNA evidence will be critical for the Clark County district attorney to prosecute Goddard because no one witnessed April’s death. The case’s age — about 27 years have passed — makes it difficult for the state to call potential witnesses. However, Bedwell remains hopeful that Goddard will be successfully tried.

“Every factor could add difficulties,” Bedwell said. “This is a case that there remains a great deal of evidence, and we believe the evidence is sufficient to prove that (Goddard) is the one that did this.”

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott confirmed that authorities in Springfield had been assisting with the Las Vegas investigation, although he declined to discuss specifics. He did say Greene County authorities had been involved for about seven months.

He also confirmed that Goddard is a registered sex offender in Greene County. Goddard first registered in December 1999 and has been compliant with registration requirements since then.

One of those requirements includes providing a DNA sample under Missouri law.

Arnott said Goddard had registered with the county as recently as April 23. Goddard no longer appears on the Sex Offender portion of the sheriff’s website, Arnott said, because he is in jail in Ozark.

Arnott said his office was awaiting a warrant to arrest Goddard, in collaboration with Nevada authorities, but was never alerted to the issuance of that warrant.

The police report says in 1986, Goddard lived in a Statz Street apartment two doors away from where the Rhodes girl lived, not far from a storage room where the girl’s bloody body was found.

April Rhodes went to a drive-in movie with her mother, Katherine, and 11-year-old brother, Thomas, on Nov. 23, 1986. The family came home from the movie and the children went to bed. It would be the last night Katherine saw her daughter alive.

Katherine Rhodes heard a scream about 4 a.m. She later told North Las Vegas police that she thought the scream came from other people in the apartment complex and went back to sleep.

Katherine Rhodes later discovered that her daughter was missing and called police at 8:31 a.m.

Police began a door-to-door search of the neighborhood. Apartment manager Cornelia Brewer found April lying in a nearby storage room.

Clark County Chief Medical Examiner Sheldon Green determined that April died as a result of trauma to the head. She appeared to have been bludgeoned with a cinder block that measured 8-by-8-by-15 inches. Green also determined that she had been sexually assaulted. (Read: she was RAPED. Say it, write it, see it, acknowledge the word…RAPE)

On Dec. 19, 2008, Detective Alan Fox of the Reno Police Department in Nevada contacted North Las Vegas Detective Ian Ryan regarding the similarities between the death of April Rhodes and the kidnapping and slaying of 7-year-old Monica DaSilva in Reno in September 1990. At Fox’s urging, Ryan sent several items taken into evidence from the 1986 crime scene to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department crime lab for updated DNA analysis.

Monica DaSilva

Monica DaSilva

DaSilva’s remains were found three weeks after her disappearance, buried in Lagomarsino Canyon east of Reno.

It’s unclear if the timeline is possible for Goddard to be connected to that crime. News-Leader records show him sentenced in Greene County on a molestation case months before DaSilva was kidnapped. The newspaper records are not specific about when he started a five-year prison term, however, and state online corrections records do not go back that far.

It was in July 1990 that Goddard was sentenced to the five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to the sodomy and molestation of the 8-year-old Republic girl. The crime he admitted took place, police say, in July 1989, but a sentencing report said he had sexually abused the girl for several years.

At the time, Greene County Circuit Judge David P. Anderson denied probation, saying the incident wasn’t isolated. Goddard was accused of molesting the child over a period of time.

“She was defenseless and you took advantage of that defenselessness,” Anderson told Goddard at the sentencing.

Adults have many defenses and avenues at their disposal. Children are defenseless.



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4 Responses to 1986 Rape and Murder of Child Solved Through DNA

  1. “Children are defenseless”

    I finished reading a book about Matt Baker, the murdering minister. I had asked myself, “What kind of a family does a man like this come from?

    His father was a foster parent who preyed upon his little female charges. One victim related how the sexual abuse began with Matt’s father Oscar Baker. Oscar soon passed her around to his friends, one of whom was a popular Baptist minister. This woman’s story would have be unbelievable except for the fact the the named minister had gotten caught trying to lure a little girl into his car with candy. Three other foster children admitted that they had been sexually abused also by Oscar.

    What was so disgusting about this case is that the little girl told her social worker and her doctor about the sexual abuse. They did nothing. To the doctor’s credit he wrote down what she said on her medical chart about the sexual abuse. It seemed that she was having urinary tract problems.

    These little girls were defenseless against the power and cunning of Oscar Baker who delighted in his powerless “possessions” for sexual gratification.

    What is notable is the similarity of Matt Baker’s mother, Barbara Baker, and Dotty Sandusky’s method of “mothering.”

    • Samantha says:

      “Children are defenseless”

      * Yes they sure are. I agree. I was defenseless. I needed a father to protect me and keep me safe! My virginity is mine to give away, when I am ready. No one can decide that for me. No One!

    • Alethea says:

      Little Nel,

      I have not heard of this case. What year was this? I ask because I am concerned about the physician who merely wrote it in her chart, but did nothing else.


      • Little Nel says:

        The book that I read was, Deadly Little Secrets by Kathryn Casey.
        It was about the murder of Kari Baker in a Texas town.

        Kari’s mother and sisters did most of the investigating because the local law enforcement would not prosecute Matt Baker. He was a “minister” that preyed on young women and had a “problem” with porn.

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