Police arrested a prison inmate from Winston-Salem on Tuesday after investigators linked him to a sexual assault that happened nearly 26 years ago, authorities said Wednesday.

John Henry Alford, 71, was charged with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense and first-degree kidnapping, Winston-Salem police said. When Alford was arrested, he was being held in a state prison on unrelated convictions for other crimes.

On Nov. 3., 1993, officers went to a home on Cayuga Street on a report of a rape, police said. The victim told officers that an unknown man armed with a knife approached her as she walked on Cayuga Street about 8:30 p.m. in the city’s northeastern section.

The man then forced her to another area before he sexually assaulted her, police said.

Detectives investigated the incident, but they didn’t develop any leads. The case was closed as inactive on Jan. 11, 1994.

On Dec. 17, 2018, investigators submitted the case’s sexual assault kit for analysis at a lab as part of the state’s sexual-assault kit testing initiative, police said. The analysis produced a lead to the 1993 case and a link to Alford, police said.

Alford was convicted of first-degree rape in April 1978 and was given a life prison sentence, according to a state correction record.

During his imprisonment, Alford was paroled, police Lt. Eric Montgomery said. Alford was out on parole when the sexual assault happened in November 1993, Montgomery said.

Authorities returned Alford to prison for violating his parole, Montgomery said.

The specifics of the parole violation were not immediately available.

Alford was being held Wednesday in the Forsyth Correctional Center on Craft Drive with his bond set at $1 million, police said. He is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 26.

Anyone with information about the 1993 sexual-assault case can call Winston-Salem police at 336-773-7700 or Crime Stoppers at 336-727-2800.

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