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A California man arrested in connection to a string of sexual assaults is now the "prime suspect" in the 1996 rape and murder of a 22-year-old college student after DNA evidence linked him to the crime, authorities said.

Nickey Duane Stane, 52, was taken into custody in Visalia on Wednesday and charged with sexual battery by restraint, forcible oral copulation and kidnapping to commit another crime, Tulare County jail records state. The charges are related to sexual assaults committed between 1999 and 2002 in Visalia, about 43 miles south of Fresno.

Fresno District Attorney Lisa A. Smittcamp said at a news conference Friday that authorities also plan to file murder and rape charges against Stane over the death of Debbie Dorian, whose body was found bound and gagged in her apartment by her father on Aug. 22, 1996.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said at Friday's news conference that DNA evidence taken at Dorian's home was found to match evidence taken from the scene of a sexual assault in Visalia. The two police departments began working together earlier this year following new developments, Dyer said, without elaborating.

Dorian, who according to local media was a student at Fresno State, was supposed to meet up with her father before they took a trip to San Francisco, Dyer said. When she failed to meet her father, he became concerned and went to her apartment where she was discovered dead.
 

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