Police: Serial rapist arrested; connected to 2003 murder in Marion

(Provided Photo/Marion Police Department)
(Provided Photo/Marion Police Department)

MARION, Ind. (WISH) — An Ohio man has been arrested in connection to a woman’s death and sexual assault in Marion in 2003.

The Marion Police Department said that 61-year-old Roman Cruz Urista Jr. has been arrested for the murder of 81-year-old Betty Payne in 2003. On May 12 of that year, Payne was found murdered and sexually assaulted inside of her home in the 1000 block of South Gallatin Street. She had died due to asphyxia due to strangulation.

DNA tests in October 2003 connected that case to a 2001 sexual assault in Montgomery County, Ohio. The Indiana State Police Laboratory reported the match

The investigation continued into December 2015, the the ISP Laboratory located another match, this time in a 2008 Hamilton, Ohio sexual assault case. This help police in Marion and Hamilton develop a possible suspect.

A third DNA match came in October 2016. This case sexual assault case was reported in Collier County, Florida in 2000. Police in Marion spoke with detectives in Collier County and Urista Jr. was determined to be a suspect in the Florida case.

A search warrant was obtained for the DNA of Urista Jr. He was located in Ohio and determined to be a match in Payne’s murder.

An arrest warrant was issued on Nov. 3, leading to Urista Jr.’s arrest. He is currently in the Hamilton County, Ohio jail pending extradition.