TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida authorities used DNA to identify and charge a man with kidnapping and raping a 7-year-old boy two years after the child disappeared and was found the next day 100 miles (160 kilometers) from his home, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported Friday.
Jason Hayling, 44, was already in custody and charged with an unrelated child rape when investigators noticed similarities in an unsolved case from April 2016. Using DNA, they tied Hayling to the abduction of a boy who was playing in a Madison County yard in north Florida. About 12 hours later, the boy knocked on a door in Jacksonville. The woman who answered recognized him from an Amber Alert issued the day before and called police.
Hayling is charged with capital sexual assault in both cases. If convicted, he could face the death penalty under a Florida law that allows execution of people who rape children under the age of 12. The only other option is life without parole.
“It gives me relief to tell you that we know who the kidnapper is and that this dangerous predator is no longer a threat to our community,” FDLE Agent Mark Perez said in a statement. “Observant investigators with unwavering dedication along with DNA helped solve this case.”
Hayling is being held without bond in the Duval County jail. Jail records don’t indicate if he has a lawyer.