After 30-plus years, serial rapist identified with 99.99% certainty

Elliott Higgins Web


Local investigators now know who is responsible for sexually assaulting two women decades ago in Tuscaloosa County.

Through genealogy-focused DNA testing, investigators were able to confirm that Elliott Lloyd Higgins, of Jemez Springs, New Mexico, was the suspect in these cases with probability greater than 99.999%.

Higgins will not be facing charges for these crimes because he died in 2014.

“We don’t have anyone to press charges against unfortunately,” said Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit Commander Capt. Jack Kennedy. “I would have been very happy to be the one that drove to New Mexico to extradite him back to Alabama, I promise you.”

Investigators said the first rape Higgins committed in Tuscaloosa was on Sept. 2, 1991.

The victim was a University of Alabama student at the time, but the assault happened at an off-campus apartment complex. The second rape happened on Aug. 27, 2001. That victim was a local realtor at the time.

Kennedy said he believes there are more victims around the country who never came forward.

“We are trying to contact as many victims as we can to let them know that we identified this subject,” he said. “If there are any unknown victims out there that have cases, hopefully they can come forward so we can share this with them or let them know that this is who it was. He is no longer out there. He is no longer a danger to you or anyone else right now.

In his 2014 obituary, Higgins was called a “master musical conductor.” He founded a competition known today as the International Horn Competition. He used that competition, investigators said, to travel around the country and commit these atrocities.

“This competition was held in different years,” Kennedy said. “Sometimes every other year, sometimes every fourth or fifth year at a college throughout America. In 1991 and 2001, it was held here at the University of Alabama. And it was held the week that both of these sexual assaults occurred. I have obtained records from the horn competition that has confirmed that he was in town those two weeks. ”

It’s a rare win when a cold case is finally solved, but Kennedy said he wants everyone to know that VCU won’t stop until they get closure for their victims.

“I want this to be a message to anyone who wants to assault women in our community that we don’t give up on these cases,” he said. “And no matter what happens, we are going to keep working on them until we identify who you are. This case was 30 years old and yet we were still working this case like it happened yesterday and new technology is here with us now and we are looking at other cases we might be able to apply this to and we will continue to do that.”

Higgins did not have a clean criminal record. He served time in prison in Ohio for sexual assaults against minors. Higgins’ DNA was also matched to a 2004 sexual assault cold case in Colorado Springs.

Categories: Crime, Local News