Federal marshals apprehend rape suspect

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Vine Grove police requested assistance in manhunt

A rape suspect sought by Vine Grove police was arrested Friday in Bardstown by U.S. Marshals assisting in the manhunt.

James Wilkerson, 27, was on the run since Sept. 25 and was identified by police as armed and dangerous.

Vine Grove police said Wilkerson is accused of raping a woman and then stealing her car. Officers found the abandoned vehicle several hours later about five miles away.

Vine Grove Police Chief Kenny Mattingly said Friday he requested assistance from federal marshals because Wilkerson had not been spotted since the alleged attack. He felt certain Wilkerson left the area.

Mattingly said the Marshals found Wilkerson with assistance from Kentucky State Police and Bardstown Police Department, Mattingly said. 

“They arrested him without incident,” he said. 

Mattingly credited the work of the Marshals for gathering intelligence on Wilkerson that led to a quick capture because they had leads Vine Grove Police lacked. 

“I don’t know how long it would have taken before we would have found him,” Mattingly said. 

Wilkerson is being held in the Hardin County Detention Center. Bond was set at $100,000 full cash. He is scheduled for arraignment via video Monday morning in Hardin District Court.

Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or mfinley@