Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 20, 2012

Man with ties to McDowell indicted in N.Y. case

NEW YORK — New York City prosecutors say a grand jury has voted to indict a drifter on charges he sexually assaulted a 73-year-old birdwatcher in Central Park.

The indictment naming David Albert Mitchell was announced in court on Wednesday without the defendant there.

The 42-year-old has been jailed since his arrest last week on rape and other charges. Authorities in West Virginia have said Mitchell was acquitted of a murder charge two decades ago and was considered a person of interest in another slaying in McDowell County that remains unsolved.

Sgt. C.F. Kane, assistant detachment commander of the Welch Detachment of the West Virginia State Police, told the Associated Press last week that investigators considered Mitchell a person of interest in the 2002 disappearance of Barbara Flake of Jenkinjones. Her remains were discovered in 2004, and her death was declared a homicide at that time.

Manhattan prosecutors have accused Mitchell of assaulting the New York woman in broad daylight on Sept. 12.

They say the attack occurred about a week after she photographed him exposing himself.

There was no immediate response to a phone message left Wednesday with Mitchell’s attorney.

Kane told the Daily Telegraph last week that authorities in McDowell County intend to work with New York authorities on the case.

“All leads will be addressed appropriately, and we will work with New York authorities 100 percent if they need anything or any type of information,” Kane said last week.

Kane said Flake’s death remains an open homicide investigation.  He said the case has been reassigned to Cpl. C.K. Morton, who handles cold cases for the West Virginia State Police.

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