STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WTAJ) — Nearly a quarter of a century has passed and thanks to a cup of coffee, officials have made an arrest in a cold case involving a student being raped in July 2000.

After going cold for a number of years, Penn State Police have arrested Kurt Alan Rillema of West Bloomfield, Michigan.

According to court documents, Rillema left DNA behind in the Penn State rape and it ultimately matched the DNA from a 1999 rape case on a golf course in Michigan. Penn State police worked with the Oakland County Sheriff’s office and they both submitted the DNA and evidence to a third-party lab.

Composites were created from both rape incidents in State College and Michigan of the suspect.


  • 1999 – A woman is raped at Twin Lakes Golf Course in Michigan
  • 2000 – A woman is raped at Penn State Blue Golf Course
  • 2001 – DNA results from the state police lab show what the suspect may look like
  • 2004 – Report shows the Penn State DNA matches the Michigan DNA.
  • 2021 – Penn State Police reopen the case with Oakland County Sheriffs in July
  • 2022 – Both departments agree to send the DNA/evidence to a third-party lab for testing
  • 2023 – A genealogical match is made for Rillema and his two brothers in January
  • 2023 – Surveillance is conducted on Rillema. DNA collected from a coffee cup confirms a match

A genealogical match on January 17 of this year led police to three brothers. One of which was a Penn State student in 2000, leading police to believe that Kurt Rillema was in State College, visiting his brother when the rape happened.

After interviewing the trio, police began to suspect Kurt as the culprit and began to surveil him. According to the court documents, they observed Kurt at a car dealership this past March where he drank a cup of coffee and placed the cup in the trash. It was then taken as evidence by the Sheriff’s office. DNA testing showed it was a match to the DNA left behind in both rape cases.

In 2000, a 19-year-old Penn State student said she was attacked and raped at knifepoint while jogging on the golf course. While police investigated, they never found a suspect.

In 2004, officials said that DNA from this rape matched DNA from a 1999 rape on a golf course in Michigan.

Still, with DNA matching a similar crime with a similarly described suspect, the case went cold with no suspect to be found.