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Man who raped his 2 stepdaughters on prison visits was accidentally released twice, then murdered by another victim’s brother

A horrific story of child rape has ended after decades of mystery. The police concluded A convicted child rapist has been murdered by his victim’s brother, it has been reported.

Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Winstrom detailed the murder of Tommy Lee Hill, who died after fleeing police twice, during a press conference at Grand Rapids Police Headquarters on Monday.

“If Elma had not been a brave and incredible 12-year-old, the number of casualties could very well have been double or triple.”

According to US Marshals Fugitive Task Force Agent Joe Garrett, Hill raped numerous children in the 1960s.

He was incarcerated at the Terre Haute State Prison in Indiana, but that did not stop his heinous child abuse spree: his wife brought his stepdaughters to visit him in prison, and he raped both of them in the prison yard in 1976 and 1977.

In 1978, Hill was found guilty of the horrific crimes after his stepdaughter, Erma Shaw, then 12 years old, testified against him. She claimed that Hill had raped her and impregnated her. Hill was convicted on January 31, 1979, but managed to escape incarceration and escape justice.

“He said he was thirsty, went into the ladies’ room and fled from there while his sentence was being served. He had a getaway car and is missing for the time being,” Garrett explained.

Law enforcement had another opportunity to arrest Hill when they arrested him in Mississippi, where a paperwork error allowed him to escape a second time.

Hill has been a fugitive from justice for decades.

Mystery solved

In 2017, nearly 40 years later, Hill’s case was transferred from the FBI to the U.S. Marshals Service, and Officer Garrett of the GRPD resumed the search for the monster.

Garrett said he used Shaw’s genealogy reports to research Hill’s whereabouts, and a genealogical tip led him to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he went door to door looking for information with the help of social media and facial recognition technology.

Finally, a tip led to the identity of a man who committed multiple rapes.

“We finally found someone who could give us the timeline. This man had changed his name to Abduallah Muhammad. He was a serial rapist,” Garrett said.

He obtained a photograph of Muhammad and showed it to Shaw, who confirmed that Muhammad was the same man who had raped her.

Garrett said it had been 30 years since Hill was killed by the victim’s family.

“He was shot in the back of the head on December 4th, 1983, by a man named Vernon Phipps after he had touched Vernon’s sister,” he explained. “So it seems like he had his own level of street justice.”

Hill was fingerprinted the day after his death, but there was no record of his fingerprints, Garrett said.

Despite the strange and labyrinthine detour to justice, Garrett said Hill may have committed a much more heinous crime without the courage of a 12-year-old girl.

“If Elma had not been the brave and amazing 12-year-old that she was, the number of casualties could very well have been double or tripled,” Winstrom said.

“I find that very prophetic.”

Shaw also spoke at the press conference along with Garrett and Winstrom.

“The fact that Tommy had been on the run for so many years meant in my mind that if he was still alive, he would still be victimizing children,” she said.

She went on to say that she wrote a book about the case to let people know about the $7,000 reward for anyone with information about Hill, and in it she offers a prescient look at what ultimately led police to his new identity.

“What’s particularly unique is that on page 75 I write, ‘He can change his name, but he can’t change his DNA,'” she asks rhetorically. “And what if he had left evidence years before the technology was developed that would have led to an arrest and accurate information about his death?”

“So I think it was very prophetic that I wrote this in 2018 because it was definitely part of what got us here today,” Shaw concluded.

Mr Shaw was asked what he would have said to Mr Hill if he had had the chance.

“As a child, I was vulnerable,” she said. “You could take advantage of me. But I’m no longer a victim. I’ve overcome this and I’m a winner. In many ways, the trials I’ve gone through — the trials you put me through — are my testimony.”

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