Raleigh rape survivor's drawing plays major role in making arrest in the case

Friday, October 19, 2018
Victim's sketch helps nab rape suspect
Sean Thomas Klinek, 28, of Apex has been arrested and charged with the crime.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A Raleigh rape survivor's artistic ability played a major role in making an arrest in the case.

"She was able to draw a picture," said prosecutor Katy Pomeroy. "She's an excellent artist and was able to draw a picture of her attacker right then. She said 'I never knew him. I've never met him.'"

In May 2017, a man raped a 15-year-old girl near the Dominion Park neighborhood in North Raleigh, North Carolina. Investigators said the attack was random.

The girl was walking home from the neighborhood pool when a man grabbed her on the sidewalk, pulled her into a backyard, and brutally beat and raped her.

"She suffered a dislocated jaw as you can see, has some horrific bruising to her entire face. She had memory loss," Pomeroy said.

Sean Thomas Klinek, 28, of Apex has been arrested and charged with the crime.

Sean Thomas Klinek, 28, of Apex has been arrested and charged with the crime. Pomeroy said Klinek was in the area working "doing cable, laying out cable."

Klinek is charged with first-degree forcible rape, first-degree kidnapping, and assault inflicting serious bodily injury.

"She immediately said, 'Oh, my God. That is him. I recognize him. I know that is him. That is the man who attacked me,'" Pomeroy said.

The 15-year-old survivor is an artist.

She drew a picture of the man who raped her soon after the attack.

"It's uncanny for someone to be able to create replicas, you know, a picture of someone like that with such skill and such accuracy," said Greg Goss, a neighbor.

In February of 2018, the survivor saw the mugshot of a man arrested in Chapel Hill for armed robbery. She contacted investigators immediately. Investigators decided the armed robbery suspect matched the young girl's drawing.

"Remarkable. Just, you know, for her age to be so precise," said Cathy Buccola, who lives in the girl's neighborhood. "And then being able to pick that person out being so exactly, you know, to her picture. It's amazing, amazing."


Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said investigative work coupled with a little bit of good fortune can often tie together a challenging case.

"Any time we have a violent assault and there's not an immediate arrest, then there's a lot going on from an investigative standpoint," Freeman told Josh Chapin from our sister station, ABC11. "Sometimes there's also a stroke of luck that brings things together that allows you to piece a case together."

Freeman said this case struck a personal chord.

"These things are always difficult, but as a mother of a 15-year-old daughter, certainly this is a parent's worst nightmare," Freeman said. "We are certainly at the beginning of a process. This is a case that will have to go through the system, but it's one like in all of these types of cases, we work very hard to see that justice is done."