Suspect arraigned on charges for 1997 rape of a child

Crimes and Courts
Stephen Vargo Rapist_1555003722599.jpg.jpg

New evidence now ties a former Martins Ferry man to the rape of a child in that city in 1997.

58-year-old Stephen Vargo Jr. was arraigned Thursday on charges of kidnapping and rape.

Judge John Vavra said Vargo will remain in the Belmont County Jail with no bond.

His trial is set for June 4.

The rape occurred September 20, 1997, when a five-year-old girl was playing in her yard in Martins Ferry.

Police say a stranger came by, took her into the alley and raped her.

Police took DNA samples at the time, which have recently been matched to Vargo.

He was in federal prison for another conviction, also involving kidnapping and rape in a separate 1999 case.

He is still serving that sentence, but will be kept in the Belmont County Jail for the duration of this case.

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