Fort Bragg soldier charged with raping 16-year-old girl in 2013 cold case, attacking her with ax

The 24-year-old soldier was linked to the case by DNA.

ByABC News
February 13, 2018, 6:27 PM

— -- A Fort Bragg soldier was charged with kidnapping and raping a 16-year-old girl and then leaving her for dead several years ago in Texas, authorities said.

Levi Austin Goss, 24, has been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and aggravated kidnapping in the horrific 2013 cold case, in which he allegedly hit the victim with an ax, sexually attacked her and then hit her with the ax again, according to court documents.

Police were able to link Goss to the case by a DNA match provided to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences by the U.S. Army, Harris County authorities said on Tuesday.

Goss' DNA sample was uploaded into the Army's databank because he was under investigation for an alleged sexual assault that took place while he was in the Army, the officials said. The circumstances and disposition of that case were not immediately clear.

In a statement, Master Sgt. Jose Colon, of Fort Bragg, said Goss, a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division was in "civilian confinement," Master Sgt. Jose Colon of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division said in a statement to ABC News.

"He is under investigation by civilian law enforcement for an allegation that may predate his military service," Colon said. "We are cooperating with civilian law enforcement in this matter."

ABC News could not immediately reach an attorney for Goss. Records indicate he joined the military in 2016 and was listed as active duty.

On Feb. 5, 2013, a 16-year-old girl was walking on Spring Cypress Road in Harris County when she was kidnapped and dragged into a wooded area, Harris County Chief Deputy Edison Toquica said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. Authorities allege that Goss struck the girl in the head with an ax before raping her, according to a criminal complaint obtained by ABC News.

The teen had been walking for about 30 minutes and was on the right side of the road -- opposite of the school -- when she was attacked, the document states. The teen turned around after she heard something behind her, and was "immediately attacked by a masked man."

PHOTO: The Harris County Sheriff's Office released this sketch of a man suspected of kidnapping and brutally raping a 16-year-old girl in 2013.
The Harris County Sheriff's Office released this sketch of a man suspected of kidnapping and brutally raping a 16-year-old girl in 2013.

The attacker used the blunt side of the ax blade to strike the teen, according to the complaint. The man then dragged her into a nearby field away from the road, stripped her of her clothes and raped her, authorities said.

After the sexual assault was over, the attacker pulled the teen to her feet by her arm and struck her with the ax again, in the back of her head. After she was hit, the teen said she only heard a loud ringing in her ears and fell to the ground.

The teen pretended to be dead by lying on the ground facing up, staring at the sky, as the attacker stood over her for some time to make sure she was dead, the document states.

Covered in blood from head to toe and without any clothing, the teen ran to a movie theater about a half a mile away once she believed her attacker was no longer in the area, authorities said.

PHOTO: Fort Bragg soldier Levi Austin Goss, 24, is pictured in an undated photo.
Fort Bragg soldier Levi Austin Goss, 24, is pictured in an undated photo.

The teen was taken to a local hospital, where she was treated for an open skull fracture to the back of her heard. There, she told deputies that she had had an argument with her foster mother and was walking to Cypress Woods High School because she "wanted to be alone," according to the complaint.

The suspect was described as being in his early 20s and wearing dark clothing, including a "ninja-style" mask over his face and head, authorities said. The teen did not believe she knew her attacker, and the only part of his face that the teen saw were his eyes, which she described as "possibly green," the document states.

It is unclear why Goss was in Harris County, Texas, at the time of the alleged assault, but investigators said he has a "very close family member" who lives less than a quarter-mile away from where the assault occurred.

On Jan. 22, the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences informed the sheriff's office that it received a match from the Department of the Army U.S. Investigation Laboratory, according to the complaint.

Two days later, a sheriff's deputy interviewed a witness who had been working at the Exxon gas station on Northwest Freeway in Harris County on the night of the assault, which is "very close" to the road opposite of the high school, the document states.

The witness stated that it was about 15 to 20 minutes to midnight on Feb. 5, 2013, when a white male wearing a gray shirt came into the store, made eye contact with him, and went straight into the restroom.

The man had changed prior to exiting the restroom, and left, this time wearing a white muscle shirt, the witness said.

The witness recalled seeing several patrol cars driving up and down the road that night with their sirens on, according to the complaint. The next day, when he went to check on the trash can, he found the grey shirt the man was wearing, covered in blood.

PHOTO: One of the entrance signs to facilities in Fort Bragg, May 13, 2004, in Fayettville, N.C.
One of the entrance signs to facilities in Fort Bragg, May 13, 2004, in Fayettville, N.C.

The victim still deals with "lingering effects" from the attack, which caused her severe brain trauma, authorities said. She no longer lives in Harris County, but she has been notified of the arrest and is "extremely excited" at the possibility that her assailant has been caught.

Harris County authorities traveled to North Carolina to interview Goss, who provided "key information" to the case.

An extradition hearing was held Monday for Goss in Cumberland County, North Carolina. Goss waived extradition, according to WTVD. Harris County authorities expect Goss to be back in Texas within the next 10 days.

ABC News' Michael Kreisel and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.