UTAH COUNTY, Utah (KUTV) — Recent testing of a 2008 sexual assault kit from Utah County has led to the arrest of a Utah man who was found “hiding” in Scotland according to the Utah County Attorney’s Office.
In a news release issued Wednesday, Utah County Attorney David Leavitt said that suspect Nicholas Rossi, 34, was taken into custody after investigators found Rossi living under an assumed name in Scotland.
“We really hold a huge debt of gratitude to the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative – SAKI – without that, we wouldn’t have been able to find this suspect,” Leavitt told 2News in an interview.
The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, funded by a grant from the Department of Justice, tests backlogged sexual assault kits and matches that data with other DNA hits across the world.
The Utah County Attorney’s Office and the State Bureau of Investigation established a team to review old sexual assault cases in Utah County where the original sexual assault kits had not been tested.
ALSO: IT worker arrested for allegedly sharing restricted police info back in court this month
One of the cases involved a 2008 sexual assault where the suspect was Nicholas Rossi.
In 2017, the original sexual assault kit was submitted for testing, and in 2018, the DNA profile from the Utah sexual assault came back as a match to a sexual assault case in Ohio investigators said.
The suspect, in that case, was Nicholas Rossi.
A probable cause statement accompanying a felony rape charge filed in 4th District Court against Rossi in 2020 indicates that Orem police investigators contacted an FBI agent who spoke with Rossi over the phone in 2019. Rossi allegedly told that FBI agent that he was living in Ireland “because there is a non-extradition treaty with the United States.”
Investigators believed that Rossi had fled the country to avoid prosecution in Ohio and attempted to lead investigators in other states to believe that he was deceased.
Through the “diligent efforts” of SBI agents, and various investigators in other states and agencies, Rossi was eventually discovered living in Scotland.
“He was found hiding in Scotland in a hospital with COVID,” Leavitt said. “Before he could escape the hospital, we apprehended him.”
The attorney's office is working with federal and international agencies to extradite Rossi back to Utah.
ALSO: 2News investigation triggers audit of Utah's parole agency, Board of Pardons & Parole
Investigators believe that Rossi may be a suspect in several similar offenses in Utah and throughout the United States.
Potential victims of Rossi are encouraged to reach out to the State Bureau of Investigation or the Utah County Attorney’s Office:
If you or someone you know is a survivor of rape or sexual assault, resources are available to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
The Utah-based Rape Recovery Center can be reached at 801-467-7273. A list of other rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence resources can be found online here.