Two men are off the hook on serious rape charges after the victim disappeared.

Christopher Shelton and Bobby Gene Anderson’s case was over a year old when they showed up to Haywood County Superior Court’s calendar call last Monday, where they were told their cases were dismissed.

The two were each facing one count of first-degree forcible rape and two counts of first-degree forcible sex offense, one count of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of assault by strangulation, charges that could have ended in decades of prison time if they were convicted.

The details of the alleged assault laid out in the probable cause affidavit painted a picture of a vicious assault that left the victim bruised, bloody and needing emergency transportation to Mission Hospital to address her injuries. A Waynesville Police Department detective conducted an interview with the victim later that day.

The victim said she had been hanging out with Anderson and Shelton near the Moose Lodge earlier.

Along with describing the alleged sexual assault, the victim detailed the other physical abuse she alleged she was subject to.

“The victim said ‘everywhere, face, hand, chest, kicked me, choked me, hit me with his fists and boots,’” the affidavit reads when describing where all Shelton had hurt the alleged victim.

Shelton and Anderson were both listed as homeless at the time of the assault, as was the victim, who was a transient. And now, because the victim moved on and was unable to be contacted, Shelton and Anderson are in the clear.

“Despite numerous attempts, including traveling out-of-state and working with other law enforcement agencies, the alleged victim has disappeared and cannot be located,” the dismissal reads.

A rape kit was used on the night of the alleged offense, July 31, and a search warrant was issued to obtain DNA from the suspects, but neither document is part of the public record.

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