"George Riffle": East Texas Man Arrested Near Chicago for 1988 Rape of a Pre-Teen Girl

Categories: Crime

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Allegedly living with a secret for 23 years.
When George Riffle walked out onto the driveway of his modest home in suburban Chicago the morning of March 9, he got a rude surprise: U.S. Marshals and local police were waiting for him. They said they knew his name wasn't really George Riffle, and that he was under arrest for the rape of a 12-year-old girl and the stabbing of an 80-year-old man in Orange County, Texas, in 1988.

Riffle, 44, has been extradited to Texas and charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child (in Bridge City) and aggravated robbery (in Vidor) under the name "David Withrow." That's the name officials say he gave Orange County police when he was arrested on drug-related charges in June 1988, two months before warrants were issued for the rape and robbery. Withrow apparently fled Texas after the warrants were issued, and, according to Texas and Illinois authorities, for 23 years, Withrow lived quietly under the name George Riffle.

After two decades of dead leads, Orange County investigators submitted fingerprints from the rape and robbery cases to the Texas Rangers last February. The Rangers ran the prints through a national database and got a hit: The prints matched those of a Hometown, Illinois, man named George Riffle, who was arrested for drunk driving in 1999 and 2000. (We're still trying to figure out why investigators waited so long to give the prints to the Rangers.)

Orange County prosecutor Cory Kneeland tells Hair Balls the victim of the 1988 rape, now 35, still lives in Orange County and is ready to testify, should there be a trial. (The victim of the stabbing has since died of causes unrelated to that incident.)

"She remembers every bit of it," Kneeland said.

But here's the thing: Kneeland said it's just as likely that "George Riffle" is the suspect's real name, and "David Withrow" was an alias he used in Texas. In the two arrests before the 1988 rape, "Withrow" had no picture I.D. and gave no address. He gave different dates of birth in each of the arrests.

Riffle's attorney was not available for comment, but according to the Chicago Sun-Times article linked above, Riffle told the arresting officers he didn't know the name "David Withrow."

Which is weird, because Riffle is Facebook friends with a David and Carrie Withrow, both of West Virginia. The former wasn't immediately available for comment; the latter said she had never heard of a David Withrow or George Riffle. Another sister, reached in South Carolina, also said she never heard of a David Withrow.

But we were able to reach Riffle's aunt, who lives in Houston, and has never heard of Withrow. Rose Goebel told us that Riffle moved to Hometown, Illinois, to be near his sister. (The sister declined to comment.) According to Goebel, who said she's only recently reconnected with her nephew, Riffle worked odd jobs around the country for years. She had no specific knowledge of him ever living in Texas. (While the Sun-Times story described Riffle as a widower with three kids, Goebel said neither Riffle nor his sister ever mentioned him having a family.)

According to his Facebook page, Riffle worked as a technician for a company that sells liquid level gauging equipment, studied at DeVry University and went to high school in New Mexico.

Kneeland told us, "The goal of this is for me to let everybody realize, I hope, that: You mess with a kid, I don't care if it takes 25 years, we'll find you."

We're going to watch this one closely, because, frankly, we're still confused.


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9 comments
wrriff
wrriff

And the reason she wanted to testify was to say that her father pressed the charges and she lied about her age.

wrriff
wrriff

Hey just so you all know. Youre as fucking stupid as you sound when you dont have the story right. My Dad was forced to say he did it because they gave him a deal on 7. Otherwise he would have an alias charge which is 25 to life. Hes a better man than anyone who commented on here will ever be. And i know that because he brought me up to be who i am. Good day to you all.

Sincerely

William Riffle

Ckneeland
Ckneeland

Well, just to clear everything up for those who scream his innocence, Withrow/Riffle pled guilty to both the rape and the robbery... and we sent off to prision.  Public record in Orange County, Texas

Mriley2172
Mriley2172

Actually He is an amazing guy and husban and father. If you don't know him than don't comment. I have known him for 15 years and there is not anybody that can bad talk about him. Don't believe everything you hear or read if you don't know the facts than don't judge. Always here for you George. We won't give up on u. Southside

bree87
bree87

Number one there was no name change! Number two None of you know whats actually going on you just know what the reporters are writing and saying! That's about like believing anything on the news about afghanistan and Iraq! The media and police are making him out to be a MURDERER! Nope never happened! And Keep in mind when your writing your Crappy little assinine comments that he does have family and children who are reading this HAVE A LITTLE RESPECT!!!!!

GRRRRRRR
GRRRRRRR

Hey bree, since you obviously know so much about him, clear his name. Tell us how they got his fingerprints. By the way, no one is claiming he is a murderer. Read much?

TTTWLAM
TTTWLAM

Actually, the media and police are making him out to be a stab-happy child rapist.

I trust his family and children will be relieved he's not a murderer.

Sharonglavin
Sharonglavin

The man that I knew is one of nicest guys around. He would do anything for you and for those kids. He always said family first. He might've been a confused young boy at the time. We all make mistakes. Innocent until proven guilty.

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