• Unspeakable Times

A Man Left His Dentures At The Scene Of A Rape, And Wasn't Caught For 16 Years

Despite having what most would assume would be a piece of slam dunk evidence - a pair of dentures with his full name imprinted on them - a man wasn't arrested until 16 years after raping a woman in Memphis, TN. That man - Thomas Maupin - was apprehended after DNA evidence linked him to the crime. Where did they get that DNA from, you ask? That would be the dentures he left at the scene of the rape. 

Maupin, now 67, committed the offense in 2001. But because of a backlog of rape kits, the material was never tested for DNA. If they had tested it at the time, they would've learned Maupin was a violent criminal. It's unclear why police didn't connect Maupin to his dentures at the time of the case, but nonetheless, it was the piece of evidence that sealed his fate in 2017.

  • Despite Leaving His Dentures Behind, They Weren't Tested For DNA Thanks To A Huge Backlog Of Rape Kits

    Photo: Shelby County Sheriff's Office

    In August 2001, a 31-year-old woman from Memphis was walking through an industrial area of the city, near downtown. An unknown man - now identified as Maupin - jumped out, grabbed her, and forced a metal object into the bottom of her chin. He raped the woman and fled the area. When police arrived, they found an interesting piece of evidence: a pair of dentures with the name "Thomas Maupin" inscribed on the inside. They bagged the evidence and sent it to the lab, where is sat for 15 years before being tested.

    Then, in 2016, the rape kit in which the dentures were included was finally tested as part of a nationwide effort to eliminate rape kit backlogs. But if anyone had looked at the dentures before sending them to the lab, they might've seen his name. And if they saw his name, they might've discovered he was a violent criminal.

    • Maupin Was Previously Charged With Murder - And Received His Dentures In Prison

      Photo: aortiz_pic / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

      Maupin was new to Memphis before he committed his crime. He moved to Tennessee after serving a 12-year sentence for murdering a six-year-old girl in Washington state. According to the Washington Post, six-year-old Tricna Dawn Cloy went missing from a birthday party in 1988. Maupin reportedly walked the girl and her mother home from the party. The next day, the girl was gone. Six months later her body was found in a gravel pit, and Maupin was charged with murder, kidnapping, and rape. Before that, he was convicted of being "indecent" with a child in 1977 in Texas, and had an extensive criminal record.

      After a series of trial mishaps, Maupin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and received 12 years in prison. While he was in prison, though, he received a set of state-issued dentures that had his name inscribed on them, as is the norm for prison dentures.

      • He Pleaded Guilty To The Crimes, Forgoing A Criminal Trial

        Photo: 826 PARANORMAL / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

        In June 2016, investigators retested the rape kit as part of a statewide effort to clear up a backlog. Three years earlier, Memphis city officials said they were going to test 12,164 previously untested kits - including the one with Maupin's dentures. He pleaded guilty to the rape, and struck a deal to serve eight years in prison to spare the victim from testifying in court.