Seventeen years after the crime, a convicted sex offender was finally held accountable for the kidnapping and rape of a fourth grade girl back in 1995.
Today, 54-year-old Donald Schneider was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for rape of a child in the first degree. Schneider kidnapped and raped the 9-year-old girl, who was a special education student at the time, while she waited for her school bus near her home in Buckley.
“While the defendant is already serving time for a prior crime, we prosecuted this case for two reasons. One, to obtain justice for the victim and the community, and two, so we have an insurance policy to keep a dangerous offender in prison where he belongs,” said Prosecutor Mark Lindquist. “Cases like this are every parent’s nightmare.”
According to court documents, the young victim was walking to the bus stop near her Buckley area home on Sept. 23, 1995 when the defendant stopped his car and asked her what time it was. He then dragged her by her hair and forced her into his car. He said, “Get down and stay down or else I’ll cut your head open.”
Schneider put a blanket over the victim and drove her to a wooded area near Eatonville, where he forced her to undress. He tied the victim with duct tape and sexually assaulted her. Before letting her go he warned, “Don’t tell or I’ll come back because I know where you live and I’ll kill your family and even you.” He also told the girl that, “I’m a drunk old man and my brain needs help and I’m going to leave you here so someone can pick you up.”
The girl was walking along the road when a woman driving by stopped and took her to the Sheriff’s Department. From there she went to the hospital.
The victim’s clothing was collected at the hospital after the assault, but the case went unsolved until May 2012, when a cold case detective sent the victim’s underpants to the Washington State Patrol crime lab where they matched the defendant’s DNA to genetic material left on the underpants. The probability that the DNA does not match the defendant is estimated at 1 in 160 quadrillion.
Schneider is a registered sex offender and was originally convicted of rape in the second degree in 1982. In 2007, the defendant was sentenced to life in prison after a jury convicted him of kidnapping and raping a woman in Tacoma. He is currently incarcerated at Walla Walla State Penitentiary.