Arrest made in 12-year-old rape case

Harold Coverdale
Harold Coverdale

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL (WTVM) -  Twelve years ago, a little girl was raped and sodomized inside her home.

It happened in a trailer park on Kinnett Drive off of Highway 80 in Phenix City.

Family members reported the case to the Russell County Sheriff's Office but at her young age, investigators could not get the six-year-old to reveal exactly what happened to her.

In recent weeks, the victim has come forward and pointed the finger at her former stepfather, Harold Coverdale.

"There was no disclosure by the victim at that time which, in these types of cases, certainly hinders prosecution. In the last several weeks, we have been able to have contact with the victim and she has now given a full disclosure of what happened to her," said Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor.

"When you have someone who is 18 now and still is traumatized to the point that she now has come forward again and given a disclosure about what happened to her when she was 6 years old, certainly we're willing to help her in any way to get through this tragedy and by doing so, we have signed warrants against Mr. Coverdale."

But Harold Coverdale, now 37, is no stranger to the system. In the years since his alleged rape in Russell County, he has relocated to Columbus, Ohio. In 2005, he served time for inappropriately touching a little girl, making him a registered sex offender.

"It potentially shows a pattern and a history of Mr. Coverdale himself so I think the fact that he is a convicted sex offender in another state lends weight to what our victim is saying here now in our county," Sheriff Taylor added.

In Alabama, there is no statute of limitations for rape and Sheriff Taylor says his office has built a strong case against the former step dad and felon.

Harold Coverdale is fighting his extradition from Ohio to Alabama.

The Russell County Sheriff's Office will get a governor's warrant to bring him back.

Sheriff Taylor says it will take about a month to get him to Russell County to face his charges.

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