Man sentenced after DNA links him to rape of teenager

By Kaitlyn Hart

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    IDAHO FALLS, Idaho ( — A local man was sentenced Tuesday after DNA linked him to the sexual abuse of a teenager.

Clay Heline, 29, will serve a fixed four years in prison with an indeterminate period of 13 years, meaning he could spend a maximum of 17 years in prison.

Heline originally pleaded not guilty but accepted a plea agreement in September.

As part of this agreement, Heline pleaded guilty to one count of felony lewd conduct with a child under 16, in exchange for the state dismissing three other cases in their entirety.

The cases that were dropped include three counts of felony burglary, one count of felony grand theft, one count of felony possession of a controlled substance, one count of misdemeanor petit theft, one count of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance, and one count of misdemeanor use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

The plea agreement also states that the prosecution will not longer file any charges having to do with a 2018 Idaho Falls Police report, a 2021 Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office report, and a 2022 Idaho Falls Police report.

In April 2020, Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies received a report that a 14-year-old had been raped by a man identified as Heline while driving in his car.

Information about the assault came from a family member as the victim was reportedly too shaken and scared from the alleged sexual assault to speak with investigators.

The family member said Heline and the victim were driving toward Bone when Heline “supposedly got his vehicle stuck in the snow.”

The victim fell asleep in the car and when she woke up, her pants were no longer on.

Heline told the victim to put her pants back on, but the victim “felt like something happened” because her pants were wet.

The family member then indicated to investigators that she believed the victim was raped by Heline.

In May, deputies spoke to Heline on the phone, who said he was aware of the case, because “people told him about it and were using ‘blackmail’ to get money out of him.”

Investigators set up a time to meet with Heline, but he never showed up and refused to answer any phone calls from law enforcement.

A sexual assault exam was done on the victim in April and the results came back positive for male DNA in June.

In August, deputies were able to obtain an order of detention for Heline and collected DNA swabs to test for a match with the victim’s test results.

In November, results from the DNA tests proved Heline’s DNA was the DNA found on the original swabs from the victim’s sexual assault exam.

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