By STEPHANIE REITZ
Associated Press Writer
HARTFORD, Conn.- A database of DNA from convicted sex offenders has linked a Connecticut man to the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in Florida almost 10 years ago, police said Thursday.Robert S. Mitchell, 43, of New Britain was charged Wednesday with being a fugitive from justice and was expected to be extradited to Florida to face charges after a hearing Thursday.
Connecticut state troopers and New Britain police said DNA from a national database allegedly linked Mitchell to the girl's death but did not immediately explain the connection between the two.
The body of sixth-grader Cherie Morrisette of Jacksonville, Fla., was found Dec. 8, 1996, in the St. John's River about 10 miles from the apartment she shared with her mother and sister.
Connecticut authorities obtained a DNA sample from Mitchell after he was convicted in 2003 of illegal sexual contact with a child, according to state records. In June 2004, Mitchell was placed on the Connecticut sex offender list after his release from prison.
A DNA sample taken from Cherie's body matched the DNA taken from Mitchell, police said, starting a process of retesting that led to his arrest.