Killer rapist roams Detroit while DNA evidence collects dust

Michael Montgomery went unnoticed by the police for a decade, raping several young women in Detroit and murdering one.

Their rape kits were among thousands left untested in a Detroit crime lab for years.

Eventually police connected the dots, but before he was arrested, he struck again and nearly killed two EMTs.

Montgomery, a part-time security guard, has now plead guilty in Third Circuit Court to those horrific crimes. He will serve 40 to 80 years in prison.

But authorities had ample chance to catch him over the course of a decade. And whether it was laziness, sloth or an overwhelmed criminal justice system, it took too long.

His case raises serious questions. Have we fixed things? How many other predators are out there known to the authorities?

Do the young lives of the city's most vulnerable truly matter?

Eleven years ago, in December 2005, the first victim we know of was abducted by gun and knife and raped in a west side alley near the a branch of the Detroit Public Library on Joy Road.

A week later, Montgomery struck again. His victim was 16-year-old Dantoya White.

"No one. No one was told ... I would have told her don't be going by there ... never had the chance to tell her," says Dantoya's grandmother Mary White.

The younger White, then a 10th grader at Cody High School, was last seen walking home from the same public library on Joy Road. Her partially nude body was found in an alley down the street, three days later.

"Oh lord, he raped her. He stabbed her about what, 40 times? Something like that. Seems to me he did everything to her," Grandma White says.

Three months later in April 2006, DNA recovered from both Dantoya's body and the first victim come up as a match. Now authorities know there is a serial rapist and killer on the loose.

Still, the library is never told.

Nor the family.

Nor the people of Detroit.

Later that year in May, just five miles away, another 15-year-old is abducted and raped in an alley. Her rape kit was not tested for seven years. The case went cold.

But Montgomery reemerged in 2010.

Her real name isn't Victoria, but because she's a rape victim, that's what she'll be known as for this story.

"I guess he followed me. Grabbed me up," Victoria painfully recalls from 2010. "And put me in that house. It was a room where you could lock it. He put me in there for a day or something."

Victoria knew Montgomery and gave police his name. The police typed a report but never followed up. Victoria walked herself to the hospital.

Her rape kit moldered for five years. Montgomery was still on the loose.

Eventually, 10,000 rape kits were discovered in the old police crime lab to great national shame. Eventually, Victoria and the 15-year-old's kits were tested. The DNA matched Dantoya's case, and cold case detectives circled back to Victoria last year.

Unbelievably, authorities already had Montgomery's name and DNA sample from yet another abduction case in 2015. Inexplicably, that DNA sample sat around in the Michigan State Police crime lab, untested for 250 days.

Detectives and prosecutors asked the lab to put a rush on it, and it all came back to Montgomery. But before authorities could apprehend him, Montgomery struck once more in October 2015, nearly killing an EMT.

"The reality is it didn't have to happen. I didn't have to be cut. This girl didn't need to be raped. This is ten years," wounded Detroit EMT Kelly Adams says. "Ten years this man has walked the streets of Detroit doing what he does and nobody has stopped him."

Montgomery will be eligible for parole in 2056. And Dantoya White lies in an unmarked grave.