DNA leads to rape charge

OLYMPIA - A DNA match has led to a rape charge in a case involving a woman who woke up nude under the Fourth Avenue Bridge in June 2009, missing all the cash from her purse and "with no memory of how she got there," court papers state.

Last week, Olympia police obtained an arrest warrant for Martin Dean Welch, 39, whose whereabouts are unknown, according to Olympia police detective Rebecca Fayette. He is charged with one count of second-degree rape.

Welch’s DNA profile matches DNA evidence taken from the then-unknown rape suspect in 2009 during the 33-year-old woman’s hospital exam.

Olympia Police Detective Brenda Anderson used a national DNA database that stores DNA profiles of people who have been convicted of certain crimes to match the suspect’s DNA with Welch’s. The database is called the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, and is used by crime labs nationwide.

Anderson has learned that Welch has ties to the Ohio area and that he additionally “is a suspect in a recent felony incident in the Kelso area,” court papers state.

Also according to court papers:

The woman told Olympia police that on the night of the rape, she was at McCoy’s Tavern in downtown Olympia. She said she had two Jack Daniel’s and Cokes at the bar, and was speaking with three men in an outdoor smoking area “when everything went blank.”

“The next thing (she) remembered was waking up under the Fourth Avenue Bridge,” court papers state. “ She stated she woke up feeling weird, kind of fuzzy and physically unstable with a lack of coordination.”

She said she was lying on a blanket with her clothes off, and about $240 was missing from her purse. Olympia police officers took her to the hospital.

If Welch is arrested, he will be brought to Olympia and held without bail at the Thurston County Jail, according to his arrest warrant.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465