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Man Accused of Raping Petaluma Girl Found Dead

Crime: Authorities say the registered sex offender attacked 12-year-old. The cause of his death is unknown.

November 05, 1996| From Associated Press

PETALUMA, Calif. — The body of a registered sex offender accused of raping a 12-year-old girl was found Monday in a remote area of Napa County, police said.

Larry Wayne Cole's body was found Monday night about an eighth of a mile from his car. There were no visible signs of trauma, and the cause of death was unknown, authorities said.

Cole, 55, a convicted rapist, burglar and kidnapper, was suspected of raping the girl within miles of the house Polly Klaas disappeared from in 1993.

Authorities had been searching for him since he allegedly entered the girl's house Friday and raped her. He was wanted on charges that included rape and burglary.

The victim's family was notified of Cole's death, police said.

Police had received scores of calls from as far south as San Diego regarding Cole.

The Polly Klaas Foundation in Petaluma, created to help families locate missing children, had joined the search Sunday.

The suspect allegedly tricked the girl into letting him into her house before threatening her life and then raping her, officers said.

The girl identified Cole from police photographs after being treated at a hospital and released. She and her father had been asked by police to leave their house because of threats the suspect made against the girl's life.

Cole was believed to have been from Southern California, but apparently had a girlfriend who lived in Sonoma County. It was not known why Cole was in Petaluma.

Detectives had issued a warrant for his arrest Monday before Napa County sheriff's deputies found his body. No suicide note was found at the scene, police said.

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