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Cape Girardeau man sentenced on two counts of statutory rape

Friday, May 12, 2006

BENTON - A 25-year old Cape Girardeau County man has been sentenced in connection with the January 2005 investigation of a missing girl from Oran.

Daniel L. Phillips was sentenced to seven years in the Department of Corrections for each of two counts of statutory rape Tuesday with the sentences to run concurrent. The court suspended execution of the sentence, however, and placed Phillips on supervised probation for five years.

Phillips entered a guilty plea to the charges on March 13 in Mississippi County Circuit Court.

The charges were filed after Scott County investigators who responded to what initially appeared to be a runaway juvenile incident later determined it was more than just a runaway.

The missing female's brother-in-law immediately became a suspect, according to Lt. Jerry Bledsoe of the Scott County Sheriff's Department.

The brother-in-law claimed to have dropped the missing girl off at school but school officials working with law enforcement investigators were able to determine this never happened, leading them to believe the brother-in-law was involved.

After an extensive two-day search, the missing girl was located at a motel in Cape Girardeau. As the investigation continued, it was alleged numerous sexual related contacts had been ongoing between Phillips and the victim since 2002. Bledsoe said they allegedly started when she was 13 years of age.