SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - In March 2015, a child woke up to find a man lying beside her in her bed in a cabin at the Christian camp, Sky Ranch. The sheriff’s office says the man ran into the woods. He was never apprehended.
Now the sheriff’s office says that DNA testing has linked that assault to a man who, at the time, lived near the Christian camp, less than a mile from the girl’s cabin, in Smith County.
Caylon James Whittington, 29, of Mineola, was arrested in Llano County on April 6, 2021, and was booked into the Smith County Jail on April 19. He is charged with Burglary of a Habitation with intent to commit a sex offense.
From the Smith County Sheriff’s Office.
On March 8, 2015 Smith County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a report of a sexual assault that occurred at Sky Ranch Camp on County Road 448 near Van. It was reported that an unknown white male entered into a cabin in the middle of the night and inappropriately touched a female child who was sleeping in her bed. The male was observed by one of the female chaperones at the camp before he fled the scene on foot.
The child received a sexual assault exam (SANE) and a forensic interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Smith County. The child also provided a detailed account of the assault as well as a detailed description of the suspect.
Investigators with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office conducted a thorough canvass of the area and spoke with several persons of inter est who matched the general description provided by the victim. During this canvas, Investigators made contact with Caylon Whittington but he denied having any knowledge of an incident occurring at Sky Ranch. At the time of this incident, Caylon Whittington lived in the vicinity of Sky Ranch and his address was approximately one mile from the victim’s cabin.
On October 15, 2020, notification of a CODIS match was received from the testing of evidence collected during the SANE exam. CODIS is the Combined DNA Index System and is a national database comprised of several indexes including DNA profiles of convicted offenders, profiles developed from evidence in unsolved crimes, and profiles developed for the identification of missing persons. The “match” returned to Caylon James Whittington – 29 of Mineola. Additionally, the Texas Department of Public Safety Crime Lab requested a known reference sample from Whittington for further examination.
On October 30, 2020, Investigators were able to make contact with Caylon Whittington. With an evidentiary search warrant, a sample of Whittington’s DNA was collected for comparison. On April 1, 2021, results from the DPS lab were returned, showing Caylon Whittington to be a match.
On April 5, 2021, an arrest warrant affidavit was presented to the Honorable Judge Kerry Russell of the 7th Judicial District Court. Judge Russell issued a warrant for the offense of Burglary of a Habitation with Intent to Commit a Sex Offense and set a bond of $250,000.
On April 6, 2021, Caylon was arrested in Llano County and booked into their jail. Caylon Whittington was transported to the Smith County Jail on April 19, 2021 and is currently incarcerated on the listed charge.