ROGERS, Ark. (KFSM) — A convicted murderer, and former police chief, has been identified as a suspect in a 20-year-old rape case, Roger police said Monday, Feb. 12. Sister station 5NEWS reported the development the afternoon of Feb. 12.
Police served a warrant on former Gateway Police Chief Grant Hardin, who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in October 2017 in a separate case.
On Nov. 9, 1997, a teacher was raped at Frank Tillery Elementary School. The teacher was at the school on a Sunday preparing a classroom when she left to use the restroom, according to police. More than 250 people were at the school attending a church service in the cafeteria at the time of the attack, according to police.
The police report states that when the victim left the bathroom, a man was standing in front of the door pointing a gun at her. The suspect then raped then the victim in the bathroom, then moved her to a classroom and raped her again, according to police.
After finding an on-site janitor and calling 911, DNA samples were taken from the victim's clothes.
The Arkansas Department of Correction submitted a sample of Hardin's DNA in relation to his murder charge, which was submitted to the state crime lab. The database showed that his DNA matches the DNA samples taken from the clothes.
Hardin was also a police officer with the Eureka Springs Police Department. He was fired in 1997 by former Eureka Springs Police Chief Earl Hyatt.
According to Benton County records, Hardin served two terms as constable for District 1 from 2009-10 and 2013-14.
In January 2016, Hardin was hired as police chief for Gateway. He resigned a few months later.
Hardin later worked as a corrections officer at the northwest Arkansas Community Correction Center in Fayetteville.
Hardin was being held Monday at the Benton County Jail on a $250,000 bond. His arraignment is set for March 19 in Benton County Circuit Court.