Crime & Public Safety

DNA evidence links man charged in Bluffton rape to cases in North Carolina, Texas

Lance Rontavis Elam
Lance Rontavis Elam Beaufort County Detention Center

A Tillman man charged with rape after he allegedly broke into a Bluffton home and sexualy assaulted a woman has been charged in connection with two 2016 sexual assaults in Charlotte and a burglary in Texas through DNA evidence collected at each crime scene.

Lance Rontavis Elam, 30, was arrested on April 28 after he allegedly broke into a home in Bluffton, sexually assaulted a woman inside and left the area only to be found by Bluffton police a short time later.

The location of the incident was not provided by the Bluffton Police Department in a news release.

According to a WCNC news report, DNA evidence collected in Bluffton matched that of those collected at crime scenes in Charlotte and in a burglary in Texas.

The evidence linked Elam to an incident on January 9, 2016, when Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police responded to a reported sexual assault at a home in north Charlotte. When officers arrived, the victim told them that an unknown man broke into her apartment and forcibly raped her at gunpoint before taking cash and running from the scene.

On August 7, officers responded to a second report of sexual assault on Runaway Bay Drive. They found a female victim who said an unknown man had broken into her apartment and forcibly raped her before running away.

Detectives obtained 16 total warrants against Elam.

He has been additionally charged with five counts of first-degree rape, four counts of first-degree sex offense, robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree breaking and entering, first-degree kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon in connection to the January 2016 incident.

Elam has also been charged with one count of second-degree rape, first degree kidnapping and first-degree breaking and entering in connection to the August 7 incident.

He remains in custody at the Beaufort County Detention Center where he is charged with rape and burglary in connection to the April 28 incident.

Caitlin Turner: 843-706-8184, @Cait_E_Turner