Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas deputies solve 30-year-old cold case

Pinellas County deputies have solved a 30-year-old case involving a sexual battery committed against a then 17-year-old girl.

Deputies served an arrest warrant Wednesday on Lawrence Warren Pierce, 54, charging him with sexual battery. They served the warrant at the Bledsoe County Correctional Complex in Pikeville, Tenn., where Pierce is serving time for violating probation on a sexual battery and kidnapping charge from 2001.

The victim is not being named because of the nature of the incident.

Deputies say the incident happened on March 26, 1984, in an apartment in unincorporated Pinellas Park. The victim told deputies Pierce knocked at her door to ask directions to a bar. He forced his way in and locked the door, then asked her out on a date.

The victim said she got her 2-month-old baby from its crib, thinking Pierce wouldn't hurt her if she had the child in her arms. She told deputies she sat on the couch and gave the baby a bottle of milk.

Pierce sat next to her and began fondling her, deputies said. He took the baby out of her arms and put it back in the crib. He threw her onto her bed, took off her clothes and sexually battered her. The victim fought back, kicking and biting Pierce, deputies said. Eventually he left.

She called deputies and was able to give them a description of Pierce, whom she did not know, and of the vehicle he was driving. Deputies collected fingerprints from a Budweiser "Tall Boy" beer can that Pierce left at the scene.

The case went cold because no one identified Pierce from a sketch and there was no match to the fingerprints. Through the years the prints were processed on multiple occasions with no matches found.

In November 2013, a sheriff's latent print examiner ran the prints once again and found a possible match from the FBI database. The prints were confirmed to be Pierce's in December. Detectives from the Crimes Against Children Unit, with the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, re-opened the investigation.

An arrest warrant was issued May 8 and served Wednesday. During an interview with Pierce, detectives said they discovered he was present in Florida when the incident happened. They were also able to corroborate the victim's original statements regarding the incident and confirm details of the conversation between the victim and Pierce.

Detectives believe there may be other victims and ask that anyone with information to contact Detective Jason Stibbard of the Crimes Against Children Unit at (727) 582-6200.

Anne Lindberg can be reached at or (727) 893-8450. Follow @alindbergtimes on Twitter.

Pinellas deputies solve 30-year-old cold case 05/19/14 [Last modified: Monday, May 19, 2014 4:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays blow another lead, lose rubber match to Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Orioles rallied past the Rays on Sunday, winning the rubber match of the three-game series 8-5.

    Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (6) scores in the eighth in the final game of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and AL East rival the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, June 25, 2017.
  2. Tim Tebow heads back to Sunshine State with promotion to St. Lucie


    Tim Tebow is coming back to the Sunshine State.

    Columbia Fireflies outfielder Tim Tebow looks out from the dugout before the team's game against the Augusta GreenJackets on April 6 in Columbia, S.C. Columbia defeated Augusta 14-7.
  3. 'Sharknado' coming to Tampa Theatre with director Q&A


    A movie about a tornado filled with man-eating sharks has to be better on the big screen, right? You'll have a chance to find out for yourself when the Syfy network's original Sharknado screens at Tampa Theatre.

    The original 'Sharknado,' which premiered in 2013, will screen at Tampa Theatre.
  4. Coast Guard airlifts man from fishing boat in Gulf of Mexico

    Public Safety

    A 27-year-old man was evacuated from a fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter Saturday night, authorities said.

  5. Trump: Not 'that far off' from passing health overhaul


    WASHINGTON — Making a final push, President Donald Trump said he doesn't think congressional Republicans are "that far off" on a health overhaul to replace "the dead carcass of Obamacare." Expressing frustration, he complained about "the level of hostility" in government and wondered why both parties can't work …

    President Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing event for the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017" in the East Room of the White House, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) DCEV208