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DNA sample obtained from inmate who is suspected of rape while on work release

Darius Wilcher
Darius Wilcher CCBI

Police have obtained a DNA sample from an inmate who is suspected of raping a woman while on work release at a fast-food restaurant in East Raleigh.

Charges have not been filed against Darius Wilcher, 26, but investigators on Feb. 6 swabbed his cheeks to compare with evidence collected during a sexual assault examination of a woman who said she was raped in the bathroom of a Burger King restaurant last month.

According to a search warrant made public Tuesday, the victim told police that prior to the assault she had received several Facebook messages from Wilcher.

On the day of the alleged assault, the woman said Wilcher asked her to come to the Burger King at 3955 New Bern Avenue, where he worked.

State correction officials reported that Wilcher was a participant in the state prison system’s work release program. He was housed at the Wake Correctional Center, a minimum security prison for men on Rock Quarry Road.

It’s not clear in the search warrant application whether the victim knew Wilcher was an inmate on work release.

The woman told investigators that Wilcher said he would give her gas money if she gave him a ride home after visiting him at work.

The woman said she and her sister went to the Burger King and parked in front of the fast-food restaurant. Wilcher came out front and waved them inside.

Once inside, the woman said Wilcher called her over to speak with her alone, near the bathrooms, while her sister started talking with another employee and ended up in the kitchen area.

The woman said Wilcher began talking to her about their phone conversations and about sex. She also told police that she and Wilcher had had consensual sex in the past, according to the search warrant.

The woman said she was pushed into the women’s restroom and the door was shut behind them. She told police she was shoved into a stall, then her pants were ripped off. The woman said she yelled “No!” at least 10 times while a man had intercourse with her “against her will,” the search warrant states.

Afterward, the woman told police she stayed behind in the stall crying for about 10 minutes.

The woman said she and her sister left Burger King and went to UNC Rex Hospital, where medical providers performed a sexual assault forensic exam.

A nurse at UNC Rex Hospital called 911 about 12:56 a.m. Jan. 25 and said a patient in the emergency department told medical officials she had been raped, according to a 911 recording made public by the police.

An incident report from Raleigh police says the “forcible rape” occurred in the 3900 block of New Bern Avenue between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Jan. 24.

The patient described the man who raped her as an “acquaintance,” the nurse told the 911 dispatcher.

The day after the assault, at 12:45 p.m., Wilcher was reported missing from his work assignment at the Burger King. Authorities found him several hours later in Knightdale, John Bull, a state corrections spokesman, reported.

About 80 percent of the inmates at the Wake Correctional Center leave the prison every day for work assignments, according to the Department of Public Safety. Most inmates work in state agencies such as as the Division of Motor Vehicles or other prisons. But about 50 inmates who will soon be released work at local businesses such as restaurants, DPS says.

Wilcher was scheduled to be released June 1, Bull said. Officials have moved him to Central Prison. He was suspended from the work release program.

Thomasi McDonald is a veteran journalist who writes about crime and public safety issues.


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