Felony charges were filed Tuesday against a 60-year-old Conway man accused of raping a close family member when she was 9 years old.
The girl disclosed the incidents in question to her school guidance counselor when she was 12 years old, and from there, the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office was notified to begin an investigation. The Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children unit notified FCSO of the allegations on Jan. 24 and an investigation immediately ensued.
The underage victim first told investigators that suspect Rex Coker Winter "has sex with her on a regular basis," according to a probable cause affidavit. However, during a subsequent interview at the Child Advocacy Center, she said she wrongfully accused Winter.
The interview with CAC was set up after the victim initially disclosed the alleged abuse with her guidance counselor. Winter questioned the girl as to why she would tell authorities what happened, and in her interview with CAC, she altered her story and said she lied about the allegations.
She told the interviewer she made up the allegations because she had recently stayed at a behavioral hospital in Little Rock and wanted to go back.
A few days later, Faulkner County investigators spoke with the young victim regarding the allegations. During this interview, she admitted to lying to CAC staff.
"During this interview, [the victim] stated that she lied when she recanted her story in the second interview because she had been thinking about it since she disclosed and didn’t want to get [Winter] in trouble and felt like she had made a mistake by telling anyone," the affidavit reads.
She told investigators the incidents in question happened at a family residence and that Winters would have her sleep with him but would move her into another room before her siblings and other family members woke up.
When asked how often Winter had inappropriate relations with her, the girl recalled, "it used to be every night but recently it is about twice a month," the affidavit states.
Two sheriff’s office investigators conducted a search warrant at the home Feb. 1, where they collected electronic devices. While conducting the search warrant, investigators also collected "the covering on Mr. Winter’s bed" for DNA analysis.
After collecting evidence on scene, the investigators spoke with Winters.
"As they began to talk to Mr Winter, he began noticeabl[y] shaking in a nervous manner," the affidavit reads. "They kept reassuring Mr. Winter that they were not placing him under arrest and that they simply wanted to talk to him in hopes that he would be willing to come to [the sheriff’s] office and make a formal statement and allow us to get him to tell us some things we needed to know to fill some holes in the investigation."
Winter said he felt like it was a set up and asked about arrest and posting bond procedures, according to the affidavit.
"Mr. Winter would never say he would or would not come to the office to talk to us, instead he continued to ask them questions regarding ‘what if’ situations," the affidavit reads. "Mr. Winter made the statement several times that he guessed he watched too much TV because he thought he knew how this worked and that we would get him in our office and get him to say what we wanted him to say then arrest him."
Winter asked how much his bond would be if he was arrested and commented "that the only way to get away from something like this is to leave the country."
The investigation continued and formal charges were filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court on Tuesday.
He currently faces three counts of rape, which is a Class Y felony, which is punishable by 10 to 40 years or life in prison.
Online records show Winter had not yet been arrested by press time Tuesday.