NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Margaret Smith’s life took a frightening turn on March 18, 1994, at 4:15 am.

A stranger broke into her Stockton Rd. home and raped her. At only 19 years old, this young mother prayed her two-year-old daughter didn’t see or hear the attack. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

“About a month later she started to have nightmares. She pointed to the window where he entered the residence and said ‘the man- the man.’ You could tell she had seen or heard something. I never knew what, but now she is older and she doesn’t remember anything; I never knew how it impacted her,” said Smith in a Zoom interview.

Fast forward to 2019.

After seeing news reports about untested rape kits, Smith called on Norfolk police to reopen her case.

“For nearly 20-plus years, my evidence sat in a warehouse and it was never even put into the data bank,” said Smith.

Cold case detective Jonathan Smith took the case and called in retired investigator Larry Hockman who first responded to the case 28 years ago.

“Larry was able to provide a lot of valuable information on the background which was important to me as the cold case detective- to be able to talk to him- the original case investigator.”

In a matter of weeks, the case that sat cold for 26 years was solved. A DNA hit named Linwood Scott as the suspect. He was about to be released from prison on an unrelated conviction.

Linwood Scott

“The day Linwood Scott got released from prison, we were over there to arrest him on this case,” said detective Smith.

“I want to thank Mr. Smith and Mr. Hockman for everything they did in the case and Mr. Hockman personally showed up at my door to let me know they found a match,” said Margaret Smith. Hockman spent more than 26 years as a sexual assault investigator with the Norfolk Police Department.

In a three-day trial in Norfolk Circuit Court, three retired officers, Hockman, Bruce Dutcher, and John Greenia set the scene while the victim provided disturbing details

“As he[Scott] was walking into the courtroom beside the bailiff, my boyfriend and I noticed his shoes were untied; his boots were untied and his shoelaces were flopping around inside. As I watched his laces and his boots move across the floor, it brought me back to that night because that’s one of the details I noticed when he told me to lay down on the floor. His boots were very loose and his laces were untied.

A jury convicted Scott of rape, abduction, and burglary with sentencing is set for August 19. Prosecutors are still trying to determine the range of the sentence which will be based on guidelines from 1994.

“I think the most important thing is to report it and say something. If you don’t report, there are going to be other victims,” Smith said.

Norfolk Police say this is likely the first cold case rape investigation to produce a conviction, but it won’t be the last.

Smith encourages victims of a rape in the ’80s or ’90s to reach out to them, especially if the victims had a physical evidence or recovery kit taken at the time of the offense.

‘We will do everything in our power to reopen the case and look at the case.”

Victims can call the Special Victims Unit at 757-664-7033.